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Commission CDM study published

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In December 2011, the European Commission published the results of a study assessing the merits and shortcomings of the current Clean Development Mechanism. One of the aims of the study is to provide a practical focus on large energy intensive sector projects, “including the evidence base relating to alleged concerns about additionality, competitiveness and carbon leakage and options for applying use restrictions under the EU Emissions Trading Directive” (Directive 2003/87/EC of 13 October 2003 – OJ L 275/32, 25/10/2003). A number of projects currently ongoing within the cement industry are covered by the study, nevertheless these are criticised for providing below average levels of social benefits and a low contribution to sustainable development. The study also notes that some emission abatement activities, including clinker substitution in the cement sector, may be strongly cost-negative, increasing the potential profits from CDMi projects.

On a more positive point, the study recognises that there is a large potential for reducing emissions via a reduction of energy consumption in cement plants and, in this respect, the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi) and the Getting the Numbers Right (GNRi) initiative is given as a good example. The authors believe that the cement sector is most likely to remain as the largest source of Certified Emission Reductions among energy-intensive industries. As a result of the free allocation of allowances in the EU for the cement sector and the cost of intercontinental transportation, in most cases the CDM is unlikely to provide a significant incentive for activity shifting from the EU to developing countries. However, crediting projects for increasing the use of clinker substitutes might lead to the reduced production of low carbon cement elsewhere in a given country/region, if the supply of clinker substitutes is limited.

Related to this, in a position paper issued in January 2012, BUSINESSEUROPE outlines its views on the High-level Panel for the CDM Dialogue, an initiative of the CDM Executive Board. In this document, BUSINESSEUROPE indicates that an appropriate scope and objective should be established, and that this could be achieved via a multi-tiered approach.

More information: Study on the integrity of the CDM