LONDON Private individuals from car drivers in
Brazil to African peasants may soon benefit from rich world
funds to fight climate change, said Jose Miguez, climate change
coordinator for Brazil's science and technology ministry.
Rich countries can meet their targets under the Kyoto
Protocol on global warming by funding emissions cuts in
developing countries, but such funds have drawn criticism both
for alleged abuses and for focusing on big, industrial
Now simple, replicable activities, like changing an old
inefficient light bulb, can by-pass bureaucratic hurdles,
opening the way for private individuals to apply.
"This is the first attempt to involve society as a whole,"
Miguez said on Tuesday, on the fringes of a climate change
conference in London.
China cornered 60 percent of emissions cuts in a market
worth $4.8 billion last year, after a clutch of big chemical
plants claimed carbon credits for destroying an especially
potent greenhouse gas.
By contrast, sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa has
seen less than 1 percent of total investment.
While the recent rule change may not add much to the amount
of money Africa gets, it could involve more people, by waiving
the requirement for each successive project to apply separately
for approval, where they are very similar.
Peasants whose only supply of energy now is burning wood,
diesel or kerosene will be able to apply for funding to install
simple renewable sources of energy like wind and solar, which
produce fewer greenhouse gases, said Miguez, who is also a
member of the U.N. panel which vets projects.
Similarly, households which may have just one light bulb
will be able to apply for funding to buy a more efficient one.
But such funding may not cover the entire cost, and will
still be overseen by a local monitoring agency, which local
governments may not be able to afford.
Brazil has also in the past complained that it hasn't been
rewarded under the Kyoto scheme, called the Clean Development
Mechanism (CDM), despite its thriving ethanol industry.
Ethanol is derived from sugar cane plants which themselves
absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and so is a cleaner
alternative to oil.
Miguez is now working with Brazil's Ministry for
Development Industry and Trade to enable as many as hundreds of
thousands of car drivers to get carbon credits for filling
their tanks with ethanol instead of gasoline.
"I think it'll take a couple of years," he said.
The former chair of the U.N. project approval panel fended
off recent allegations of abuses and fraud by project
developers, while acknowledging a potential conflict of
interest where developers choose their local approving body,
called a designated operational entity (DoE).
"They could agree together what the emissions cuts will
be," he said. "For me if the vast majority of projects are
additional that's enough."