India and China successfully blocked a proposal to suspend a United Nations programme to earn carbon credits from ultra mega power projects.
India and China are the majority stakeholders in the programme. Of the 37 projects under consideration, 26 are from India and 11 from China. Of the three projects already registered, one is from India and two from China.
If the all projects are registered, the two emerging economies will earn more than 40 lakh carbon credits per year.
One credit is equal to a tonne of carbon emission saved and is sold for about $15.
A UN panel had recommended taking the ultra mega thermal power plants off the list of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects for earning carbon credits on the ground that claim of emission reduction was exaggerated by 25 to 50%.
The proposal considered by CDM executive board -- highest carbon credit decision making body -- refused to accept the recommendation following stiff resistance from China and India.
"Our concern was the methodology adopted by meth panel in making the recommendation was not correct," said a government official.
"Many of the emission reductions claimed are on the basis of actual monitoring and now just assumptions."
China was more vehement in opposing the recommendation than India as its 11 projects under evaluation would be earning much more credits than 26 projects from India. Both India and China believed that any move to suspend the projects will adversely hit clean energy adoption in the two countries.
The CBM board members agreed to the concerns raised by India and China and refused to suspend the projects under evaluation. However, the board decided to review the methodology for estimating carbon credits from these projects at the next meeting.
But, European NGOs, which have been running a campaign to discredit the methodology for thermal powers plants, said the decision will harm the credibility of CDM.
"Knowing that there is a chance that a revised methodology could slash the number of credits creates an incentive to accelerate validation so that flawed rules can still be used to generate lucrative credits," said Anja Kollmuss from Europe based NGO CDM Watch.
The reprieve will help India to pursue its cleaner super critical coal technology to harness its energy needs under Ultra Mega Power Plants scheme and earn millions of US dollars under the CDM regime.
This had become amply clear when former environment minister Jairam Ramesh had justified the approval of new coal blocks saying they will help in running lesser polluting power plants.