Carbon Forum Asia 2009
The annual Carbon Forum Asia trade fair and conference starts today at the Raffles City Convention Centre, officially opened by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry.
This year’s trade fair offers a comprehensive showcase of regional and international carbon market players from over 27 countries, including 22 countries across Asia Pacific, such as Singapore, Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Pakistan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Thailand, Bhutan and Papua New Guinea.
At the trade fair’s Sellers Pavilion, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), innovative sustainable projects in Asia were showcased by project developers and carbon credit sellers. These projects include biomass-biogas combined heat and power generation, conversion of waste coal gas to energy, methane avoidance, etc.
The conference brings together more than 130 leading regional and international speakers to discuss new trends and perspectives for the Asian and global carbon market, and on issues related to emissions trading, carbon finance and climate change.
The total value of the global carbon market reached US$125 billion in 2008, more than double the US$60 billion recorded in 2007. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has also benefited developing countries such as China, India and Brazil.
Although there are critics of carbon trading and the CDM, we cannot deny the importance and potential of the CDM if done properly to reduce emissions and contribute to sustainable development together. As Mr Andrew Tan, CEO of the National Environment Agency, explained in his speech at the Clean Development Mechanism World Designated National Authorities Forum (held in conjunction with Carbon Forum Asia):
Right at the start, the CDM was a compromise solution between countries that wanted the creation of an adaptation fund for climate vulnerable countries and those that wanted a more market-driven mechanism. The CDM was therefore never a perfect system to begin with and a system that its designers had to improve as they learnt along the way. Indeed, up to recent times, the CDM has attracted criticisms that it is too bureaucratic a system, with many delays and not cost-effective. Environmental groups have similarly criticized the CDM for providing millions of dollars of financing for minimal emissions reductions or projects that would have gone on anyway. These calls have not gone unheeded and efforts have been made to address the shortfalls of the system.
I therefore hope that at the Singapore meeting, delegates can build upon recent discussions on the CDM and work closely together to help improve the governance framework to ensure:
a. greater transparency and accountability
b. better accreditation of DOEs and minimizing conflicts of interest
c. clearer guidelines and standards
Failure isn’t failing. Failure is failing to try.
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