Corruption Potential in Climate Change Strategies

Transparency International, the highly respected global ngo working against corruption, recently released a very detailed report entitled Global Corruption Report: Climate Change.

The report notes that the changes needed to resolve the climate change issue will involve huge amounts of money, perhaps as much as $700 billion by 2020, and thousands of agencies at the local, national, and international level. The report notes that where huge amounts of money flow there is almost always the opportunity for corruption. To address this risk TI recommends:
– Generating and making publicly available accurate information.
– Tracking, benchmarking and comparing the capacity and performance of emitters, regulators, funders and governments.
–  Matching capacity at all levels to the scale of the challenge.
–  Anchoring climate governance firmly in existing frameworks for integrity and accountability.

Much important detail is contained in the body of this important report. For example, about the Clean Development Mechanism, one of the key and most important elements of the current Kyoto Protocol process and one in which Canada played a key role, TI states:

“At the board level of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Adaptation Fund, there is no room for any independent oversight of decision-making. In terms of funding, developed states are accused of failing to account for the source of ‘new and additional’ pledges, leading to accusations that they are diverted from official development assistance (ODA) commitments and double-counted as both development and climate funding.”

“Conflict of interest is a pervasive corruption risk in climate governance at the international and national level.”

“At the international level, CDM Executive Board members are not excluded from occupying conflicting positions, such as membership of national approval boards,  for example. Validators of CDM or REDD projects may have a potential conflict of interest as they are required to be paid by project developers, rather than out of a common pool, thus raising the risk of actually increasing emissions. In the CDM, designated national authorities (DNAs) can, for instance, serve in ministries for industry or finance.”

About carbon markets, TI states:

“Policy capture and undue influence are fundamental risks. The scale of the transition has created powerful national lobby groups, which can adversely affect progress through undue political influence, media manipulation and the funding of front organizations.  .  .  .  .  Where carbon markets have been established, market players are seen seen to be involved in setting the rules to their benefit. As a result of lobbying activities, the power sector, for example, has a surplus of permits far above its actual emissions in Europe.”

The Report can be downloaded from

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