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Flying British MPs may help Indian clean mechanism projects

Mamuni Das
Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

UK Govt offices likely to shell out funds to buy carbon credits to offset green house gas emissions

Go green campaign
UK to make all Govt air travel carbon neutral
India stands to gain most with the maximum number of projects till date

New Delhi , March 3

Come April and air travel by British Government officials could bring smiles to Indian companies wanting to trade carbon credits. The British Government plans to make all Government air travel `carbon neutral'.

In other words, all Central Government offices in the UK would have to shell out funds to buy carbon credits to offset the green house gas emissions caused due to air travel by their officials.

"We would be calculating miles travelled by air by each department. Based on this, we will calculate the carbon emissions and the corresponding price to be paid to buy carbon credits to set it off," Mr Elliot Morley, Minister of State for Climate Change and Environment, UK, told Business Line recently. These monies would be credited to a goodwill fund, which would then be utilised to fund clean development mechanism (CDM) projects.

India could be a major beneficiary as it has the maximum number of such projects in the pipeline as on date. Some 25 per cent of projects registered are from India (23 out of 93), and according to the United Nations Environment Programme estimates, over 200 out of the 600 projects in the pipeline are based in India - about 36 per cent of all projects. The EU is at the forefront of increasing private investment in CDM - with the UK at its core, said Mr Morley.

CDM activities are those projects in the developing countries that could potentially generate and sell carbon credits.

A similar initiative was taken during the G8 Gleneagles Summit in late-2005, wherein steps were taken to ensure all emissions associated with air travel, local transport and accommodation at meetings were "carbon offset". Based on the funds collected, some 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide would be offset over the next two years by investing in an Africa-based CDM project.

The project involves the installation of solar water heaters, ceiling insulation and compact fluorescent lightbulbs in thousands of homes in deprived neighbourhoods. In addition to offsetting 5,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, the project will contribute to health, employment and energy cost benefits. "Even the Indian Prime Minister's travel was carbon offset," added Mr Morley.

Mr Morley also said the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EUETS) would continue in Phase II (2008-2012) without any dilution of penalties. On the level of emission reduction targets in the second phase, Mr Morley said they would at least have the same level as that of the Phase I.

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