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CLIMATE SCIENCE
Climate: Kyoto scheme sees billionth tonne of saved CO2
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Sept 7, 2012


'Climate change is not a hoax': Obama
Charlotte, North Carolina (AFP) Sept 7, 2012 - President Barack Obama said "climate change is not a hoax" Thursday and recommitted himself to reining in carbon pollution in a rebuttal of taunts from his Republican rival.

Last week at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida, White House hopeful Mitt Romney poked fun at the president in a barb suggesting that he prioritized environmental issues over acts to help hard-working Americans.

"President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet," the former Massachusetts governor said to applause and laughter from the party faithful. "My promise is to help you and your family."

There was no hint of amusement in Obama's response.

"My plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax," he said, as he accepted his party's presidential nomination for the tight-fought election in November.

"More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke," he said. "They are a threat to our children's future."

Obama acknowledged in his annual State of the Union address in January that the deeply divided Congress would not approve comprehensive legislation to fight climate change.

Legislation backed by Obama died in the US Senate in 2010 amid staunch opposition from Republicans, many of whom question scientists' view that carbon emissions are behind rising temperatures.

Obama has urged Congress to renew tax credits for clean energy, with incentives for wind power set to expire at the end of 2012, and called for an end to subsidies to already profitable oil companies.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a Kyoto Protocol device to curb greenhouse gases through market forces, has now issued a billion tonnes of carbon credits, the UN climate forum announced on Friday.

Under the CDM, rich countries that are party to the 2005 treaty can invest in emissions-cutting projects in developing countries.

They then earn carbon credits -- formally known as certified emission reductions (CERs) -- that they can then sell or use to offset against their own emissions targets.

The billionth CER was issued for CDM Project 0949, a scheme in Alwar, Rajasthan, where an Indian factory has switched its fuel source from coal and oil to locally-gathered biomass, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said in a press release from Bonn.

The change is designed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 17,475 tonnes annually, the equivalent in terms of fossil-fuel pollution of taking 3,100 passenger cars off the road.

"This exciting milestone is a testament to the expanding use of the CDM," the UNFCCC's executive secretary, Christiana Figueres, said.

"The CDM is not only having an important impact on developing countries through technology transfer and sustainable development, but it can also encourage developed countries to increase their emission reduction targets by making mitigation more affordable."

The value of CERs has been hit by a slump in the European carbon market, the world's biggest, and the CDM itself has been rocked by cases of abuse and accusations of preference for schemes in China.

Addressing this criticism, the UNFCCC said the rules had been tightened "to safeguard the mechanism's environmental integrity and extend its reach in under-represented regions."

New guidelines including help for CDM projects that encourage the use of efficient cooking stoves, solar water heaters and biogas digesters in poorer countries, it said.

The future of the Kyoto Protocol is part of a complex triple-track negotiation process under the UNFCCC that ultimately seeks a new global pact on climate change by 2015.

Kyoto's first round of commitments expires at the end of this year. Among rich countries, only the European Union (EU) and several smaller economies have signalled a willingness to sign up for a second round of pledges.

The United States signed Kyoto as a framework agreement but refused to ratify the deal after its rulebook was completed in 2001.

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