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Strong Clean Development Mechanism Needed Under Climate Treaty, says WWF

WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund today called on climate negotiators to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol rules governing financed projects to ensure their environmental integrity. This call came as the Eighth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change begins today in New Delhi, India and continues until November 1.

The conference is scheduled to adopt operating rules for the Clean Development Mechanism among other technical issues involved in finalizing the Kyoto treaty. The CDM is a tool to finance projects in developing countries that reduce the man-made carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. To be the most effective tool possible, it must generate new and additional CO2 emission reductions, or promote investment in clean, renewable energy technologies.

"To fulfill their responsibility in addressing the problem of global warming, governments must act decisively to improve the rules and ensure the environmental quality of the projects undertaken," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Climate Change Program.

WWF believes that if governments act swiftly to strengthen the mechanism, it could play a strong role in global efforts to cut CO2 emissions and meet sustainable development goals. In addition, WWF asks that countries decide on sound definitions for sinks - forests and land-use activities that absorb CO2 from the atmosphere - in the Clean Development Mechanism as a first step to ensure that sound projects will occur. Those rules will be finalized at the next convention.

"It is New Delhi that will be remembered for either setting the Clean Development Mechanism, science and carbon sinks on the right track or creating bad precedents and stalling the debate while the earth continues to warm," said Morgan.

WWF puts great priority on Russian and Canadian ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and both countries have stated their intention to ratify. Only Russia is needed for the Kyoto Protocol to become international law.