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CDM-report: Case study on a Swedish carbon offsetting project

Vi konsumerar - de kompenserar (We consume, they compensate) is the title of a report produced by Swedwatch in cooperation with Diakonia and the Church of Sweden. The report examines one of the many projects Sweden will be buying carbon credits from in the future – a hydropower project in northern India.

Hydropower in Rampur, North India

One of the CDM projects included in the Swedish carbon offsetting is a hydropower project in northern India named Rampur Hydroelectric Power Plant. The project is part of an investment fund administered by the World Bank.

350 million Indians are currently without electricity, and the country is in great need of expanding its energy production. The Indian government has developed a strategy to increase the energy production, and a significant portion of this production is planned to stem from large-scale hydropower. The river Satluj in Himachal Pradesh is one of the rivers that have been identified for the development of hydropower, and it is there the CDM project examined in Swedwatch's and Diakonia's report takes place.

What is CDM? In conjunction with the Kyoto protocol, the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) was developed. The idea behind CDM was to reduce the costs of reducing emissions through international cooperation, making it possible for more countries to meet their emission reduction commitments.

Shortcomings in working condition and health

The report shows several problems concerning health and safety issues within the CDM project, asnd it also presents problems related to the working conditions of the many migrant workers who are temporary employees. In addition, many villagers and small-scale farmers near the Satluj river states that they have not received adequate compensation from the project company, and that there have been a lack of clear information about the negative effects relted to the project.

Three main issues with Swedish carbon offsetting

The study highlights three main problems with Sweden's commitment to carbon offsetting: a lack of accountability in certain multilateral projects, as well as doubts about additionality and sustainable development.