What you need to know about waste incineration and the Clean Power Plan

The final version of the Clean Power Plan (released August 2015) holds good and bad news for communities organizing to close incinerators and prevent the construction of new incinerators, including clarifications that burning plastics wouldn’t count as carbon neutral, and acknowledges that burning trash competes with waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and composting.

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The Green Climate Fund and community control

The Green Climate Fund is a new, global institution which is supposed to channel billions of dollars to support climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. But it is critically important that communities retain control of which projects get funded.

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Costly Dirty Money-making schemes

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a scheme under an international climate change agreement that allows developed countries to buy “credits” from projects that supposedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, instead of cutting their own emissions domestically. However, most of the “credits” being generated will go to projects that further exacerbate climate change and compromise sustainable development. This report reveals how the CDM is subsidizing destructive practices in one developing country: the Philippines.

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The Green Climate Fund: Effective Community Ally or Corporate Giveaway?

The international community is creating a new entity, the Green Climate Fund, to channel up to $100bn a year to climate solutions in developing countries. In this paper, GAIA uses concrete examples from the waste sector to show why these funds should flow to the informal sector, grassroots groups, and city administrations and not to multinational firms. The benefits of such grassroots-led waste management include lower greenhouse gas emissions, higher employment rates, better working conditions and reduced toxic pollution; whereas the corporate approach tends to lead to increased emissions and economic displacement.

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Carbon Trading – How it Works and Why it Fails

Carbon trading lies at the centre of global climate policy and is projected to become one of the world’s largest commodities markets, yet it has a disastrous track record since its adoption as part of the Kyoto Protocol. Carbon Trading: how it works and why it fails outlines the limitations of an approach to tackling climate change which redefines the problem to fit the assumptions of neoliberal economics. It demonstrates that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, has consistently failed to ´cap´ emissions, while the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) routinely favours environmentally ineffective and socially unjust projects. This is illustrated with case studies of CDM projects in Brazil, Indonesia, India and Thailand.

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Carbon Trade Watch: Cap and Trade Factsheet

The goal of the system is to help polluters meet “reduction” targets in the cheapest way possible. But what is cheap in the short-term does not translate to an environmentally effective or socially just outcome over the long-term, and the system is
wide open to gaming by industry and traders.

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Clean Development Mechanism & Waste

What’s wrong with the CDM support to waste-to-energy?
Climate policy attempts to reduce methane emissions from waste have mainly focused on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was established not only to reduce emissions as cost-effectively as possible, but also to promote sustainable development and technology transfer to developing countries. Unfortunately, in the case of the waste sector, considerable evidence indicates that the projects approved by the CDM are not achieving either goal; indeed, in many cases they are directly undermining both.

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What’s wrong with the CDM support to waste-to-energy?

Climate policy attempts to reduce methane emissions from waste have mainly focused on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which was established not only to reduce emissions as cost-effectively as possible, but also to promote sustainable development and technology transfer to developing countries. Unfortunately, in the case of the waste sector, considerable evidence indicates that the projects approved by the CDM are not achieving either goal; indeed, in many cases they are directly undermining both.

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CDM Misadventures In Waste Management

The Clean Development Mechanism’s flagship waste management project in India is turning into a multi-faceted disaster, revealing flaws in both the carbon credit mechanism as well as the corporate-driven, technology-focused approached to climate change mitigation.

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CDM: Financing the Demise of Waste Worker Livelihood, Community Health, and Climate

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) funding for incineration and landfills currently represents a lost opportunity to reduce pollution and help improve the welfare and standards of living of some of the poorest people in the world. Additionally, this funding incentivizes the destruction of valuable resources that would otherwise have been recovered with significant climate benefits. The following are a few examples of waste projects that have been approved or are being considered for CDM approval, and where there is growing community and waste worker opposition to the project.

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Respect for Recyclers: Protecting the Climate through Zero Waste

Reducing, reusing, and recycling municipal waste is one of the easiest and most effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides gainful employment to millions of people in the developing world, mostly in the informal sector (“wastepickers”). Yet rather than supporting these efforts, climate funds such as the Clean Development Mechanism are subsidizing incinerators and landfill gas systems, which compete directly with recycling and increase emissions, unemployment, and public costs. A new, non-market, climate finance mechanism is needed to support the formalization and expansion of the informal recycling sector.

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Respect for Recyclers: Protecting the Climate through Zero Waste (Chinese)

Reducing, reusing, and recycling municipal waste is one of the easiest and most effective means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It also provides gainful employment to millions of people in the developing world, mostly in the informal sector (“wastepickers”). Yet rather than supporting these efforts, climate funds such as the Clean Development Mechanism are subsidizing incinerators and landfill gas systems, which compete directly with recycling and increase emissions, unemployment, and public costs. A new, non-market, climate finance mechanism is needed to support the formalization and expansion of the informal recycling sector.

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Products, Packaging, and US Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This Product Policy Institute white paper builds on the report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices,” by extending analysis to include the impacts from producing products abroad that are consumed in the U.S.

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FoE: A Changing Climate for Energy from Waste?

Friends of the Earth report, “A Changing Climate for Energy from Waste?” highlights the fact that typical UK incinerators, generating only electricity, are unlikely to be emitting a lower quantity of greenhouse gases, expressed in CO2 equivalents, per kWh electricity generated than the average gas-fired power station in the UK.

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Carbon Market Fundamentalism

Now numbering in the tens if not hundreds of thousands, waste-pickers of Delhi have plied the garbage of Delhi’s streets for decades. A disturbing spectacle, often including women and children in their ranks, they nonetheless provide a vital service: recycling. In a country like India, paper, plastic and metals are an increasingly valuable commodity. And for slum-dwellers, this may be their only source of income.

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Stop Trashing the Climate Report Connects Waste and Global Warming

In June activists in countries such as the Philippines, Canada and the United States took action to call attention to the findings of a groundbreaking new report. The Stop Trashing the Climate report, written by GAIA, the Institute for Local Self Reliance and Eco-Cycle, provides compelling evidence that preventing waste and expanding reuse, recycling, and composting programs — that is, aiming for zero waste — is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies available for combating climate change.

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