myclimate at the Climate Change Conference on Bali

myclimate organised an official event on the quality of offset projects at the UN Climate Change Conference on Bali on 4 December. Seven experts discussed the current standards. There was wide agreement that the Gold Standard is the most credible and best standard for voluntary offsetting.

Martin Stadelmann, project leader of myclimate climate protection projects, opened the event and talked about the experiences of myclimate: Most customers demand high project quality such as sustainability, transparency and additionality (the projects should not be possible without the support through the climate certificates). The only two standards or programs which fulfil these criteria are the Gold Standard and, with reservations, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This is why myclimate only supports projects which fulfil one or both of these standards.

Projects supporting solar, biogas and efficient cookers are very popular with the public and at myclimate, because they have many positive effects, such as better air and less deforestation. However, these projects are currently only acknowledged by the Gold Standard and not by the CDM. Bernhard Schlamadinger, an international biomass expert, explained how the proposed CDM methodologies for the calculation of emission reductions through cooker projects work. There is much hope that these methodologies are accepted by the current climate conference.

Axel Michaelowa of the University of Zurich, an acknowledged expert for climate politics, explained why the volunteer market concerning additionality could not simply trust the CDM. There are, in fact, strict rules in the CDM, but in practice it is often not tested very well whether the projects would not also have been implemented without the support through climate certificates.

Pamposh Bhat, head of CDM India in the GTZ, spoke about first experiences with the Programmes of Activities under the CDM. The idea here is to bundle many small projects into one carbon offset program which gives the flexibility to add new small projects without having to go through all the red tape each time. Such carbon offset programs can correspond to the wishes of offset customers and myclimate, namely to promote small, sustainable projects with high positive social and ecological side effects.

These introductory presentations were followed by a panel discussion, in which Meinrad Buerer of the Gold Standard stressed, why the Gold Standard is necessary as a quality label both for the CDM and for voluntary offset projects. Edwin Aalders of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) and the International Emission Trading Association (IETA) defended his standard and said that under the VCS, the issues of sustainability and additionality were also being considered. Stephan Singer, head of the EU Climate and Energy Unit of the WWF, contradicted Mr. Aalders and said that even nuclear power and large water power plants were accepted by the VCS and that the only credible standard was the Gold Standard.

The event ended with myclimate presenting the speakers with a large golden Toblerone. For myclimate, the golden chocolate stands for high quality and for the Gold Standard as the best quality standard for compensation.

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