Thursday, October 17, 2013

Western, Indian NGOs lobby against power project, wonder if trading MNC has snapped ties with Adanis

By Our Representative
In an open letter to Laurent Michel, director-general for climate and energy, Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, French government, 29 non-government organizations from western countries and India have come together wondering if EDF Trading, top MNC player into the international energy markets, has at all delinked its contractual agreements with the Adani Power project at Mundra, Gujarat, about which it had declared it on August 13. In a newspaper statement, the EDF Trading had said that it would not be associated with Adanis’ “supercritical coal power project in India”, and would “never purchase carbon credits from it”.
The western NGOs that signed the letter included Climate Action Network, France; Climate Action Network Europe, Belgium; the Climate Concept Foundation, Germany; Ethical Markets Media, USA; and the Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development from Europe. As for India, important NGOs were International Rivers, Delhi; Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development, Delhi; Paryavaran Mitra, Ahmedabad; Gujarat Forum on Clean Development Management, Ahmedabad; Laya, Visakhapattanam; and Regional Centre for Development Cooperation, Odisha.
The letter admits, except the EDF Trading, the France-based MNC has not made any information public about its decision to distance itself from this Adani Power project, categorized as a clean development mechanism (CDM) project which could earn carbon credit. Regretting that the Adani Power has been issued “more than 600.000 carbon offset credits“, because of a “flawed” decision to declare it as CDM, the letter wonders whether the EDF decision to distance itself from Adani Power was “formal”, asking, “when was the decision taken, how the involvement was ended and whether the contract was sold to another entity who might have purchased the carbon offsets.”
Taking a serious view of lack of clarity on this score, the letter says, “The situation of the Mundra project in India is very concerning. According to the Kyoto Protocol, a CDM project activity must contribute to the sustainable development of the host country. As no general criteria are defined on an international level, it is for the Indian government to determine these criteria.”
In fact, “on September27, 25 Indian NGOs sent a letter to the Indian National CDM Authority demanding to withdraw the letter of approval for the CDM project 2716 in question. This demand is based on the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s (MoEF) own report that finds non-compliance with national legislation and evidence that the project is not meeting the criteria of sustainable development set up by National CDM Authority”.
The letter stresses, “The report reveals that the Project Design Document (PDD) was conducted on the basis of an erroneous social and environmental impact assessment that failed to recognize fishing communities, salt-pan workers and pastoralists as potentially affected stakeholders. These communities have not been consulted before the implementation of the project and no relevant information has been made accessible in the local languages.”
The letter points out, “Due to the depletion of groundwater and the destruction of mangroves as a result of the constructions for the project, the availability and accessibility of fish is negatively influenced, constituting a threat to the livelihood of the local population”. It also suggests how the report has suggested that “there is a large amount of air pollution due to fugitive emissions in form of flying ash. The flying ash makes the fish unmarketable and is a threat to the environment, the climate in general as well as the health of the population”.
The letter questions the eligibility of coal power under the CDM, saying it has “not only been criticized for its negative environmental and human health impacts”, several studies have also shown that “the construction of coal power plants in the CDM is business as usual and does not depend on the additional CDM revenue… The threat that coal power poses to ecosystems has already been recognized by the British and Norwegian government as well as the World Bank that have announced to stop endorsing investments in coal power under the CDM.”
Insisting that “the Mundra CDM project does not contribute to India’s sustainable development and has negative consequences for the fragile environment and living conditions of the local population”, the letter adds, “Evidence exists that the project is not additional, even worse, that offset credits from the project are based on a flawed methodology.”
Demanding to exclude coal power projects from the CDM at the upcoming UN-sponsored Climate Change Conference in Warsaw on November 11-22, 2013, the letter says, “Because coal is inherently climate damaging and also causes numerous other environmental and human health impacts, NGOs have long been calling for the exclusion of coal power projects from the CDM”. It adds, “Following the announcement from the British government to stop endorsing investments in coal power, we call on the French government to withdraw the approval letters for the project and to support the exclusion of coal power projects from the CDM.”

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