Factbox: U.N. panel to rule on green incentives for coal
(Reuters) - A U.N. panel will rule on Friday for the first time on whether a coal plant should qualify for carbon offsets under a Kyoto Protocol scheme, already criticized for favoring large, industrial projects.
Coal is the most carbon-emitting form of power generation, but project developers, India's Adani Group, say that their 1.3 gigawatt, super-critical coal plant is more efficient than most.
The U.N.'s clean development mechanism allows countries and companies in the developed world to meet carbon emissions limits by paying for carbon offsets generated by emissions-cutting projects in the developing world.
A 10-member panel of U.N. experts oversees that scheme, deciding which projects should qualify. The scheme has long been criticized for being heavily biased toward large industrial projects which destroy the potent greenhouse gas HFC-23.
Such HFC projects account for about half all carbon offsets issued by the U.N. CDM executive board (EB) so far. The project developers earn far more money under the scheme than it costs them to destroy the greenhouse gas.
The scheme has also come under fire for rewarding wind and hydropower projects in China which some critics say already already make a good financial return, and so would have been built anyway.
The EB will decide at the meeting which concludes on Friday:
* whether to register certain projects, thereby allowing them to claim carbon offsets under the CDM. Such projects under review include: a 340 MW gas plant in northwest India; a 1,170 MW gas plant in China; a 10 MW gas plant in Pakistan; a 1,320 MW super-critical coal plant in India; nine biomass-fired power plants; 23 hydropower plants; 22 wind farms;
* whether an existing, registered project should be allowed a new, seven-year period of carbon crediting. The project under review is a HFC project in South Korea.
* a draft procedure to force consultants, also called designated operational entities (DoEs) and who advise on CDM projects, to buy back excess carbon offsets in cases where the EB finds the developers claimed too many. The EB was given the power to implement such procedures at a U.N. meeting in Canada in 2005
* whether any DoEs have broken rules to the extent that they should be suspended
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