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WWF launches Gold Standard for Kyoto Protocol Projects

NEW DELHI, India - World Wildlife Fund today unveiled a set of draft "gold" standards designed to ensure that two key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol more effectively reduce the carbon emissions that cause global warming.

Developed by WWF in consultation with a range of environmental, business and governmental organizations, the standards set forth criteria for projects carried out under the Clean Development Mechnanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI) provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM and JI allow governments and firms to offset their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions through new investment in clean technology projects: The standards developed by WWF would ensure that these offsets do indeed provide climate and sustainable development benefits.

"The Gold Standard provides a framework for governments and the private sector to ensure that real environmental and social benefits occur from Kyoto Protocol projects," said Jennifer Morgan, director of WWF's Climate Change Program. "We are releasing the standards now so that project developers, companies and governments can show their commitment to climate protection by investing only in the highest quality projects."

While WWF believes industrialized countries should focus their efforts on domestic emissions reductions, it also believes that CDM and JI projects could become powerful tools for accelerating the spread of sustainable energy technologies and helping to fight global warming. However, WWF and other groups are concerned that the CDM/JI rules contain loopholes likely to create projects with no net environmental benefit. For instance, many of the projects currently proposed would have occurred anyway and therefore offsets are claimed while emissions continue to increase.

To address these concerns, the Gold Standards outline a series of criteria for projects to meet, including a clear focus on sustainable energy technologies, additionality and concrete sustainable development benefits. They also ensure a high level of public participation, particularly by those communities likely to be affected by projects.

"The Gold Standards will show how the CDM and JI could become powerful instruments for climate protection," said Mark Kenber, WWF Senior Policy Officer. "If widely adopted the standards can assist in overcoming the current mistrust of these instruments, providing certainty for investors and real climate benefit."

An independent Standards Advisory Board composed of technical experts from around the world has approved the standards and will oversee their further refinement. WWF welcomes comments and further inputs on the standards, particularly on their practical implementation.

For further information:
Jennifer Morgan, Director, WWF Climate Change Programme, jennifer.morgan@wwfus.org, tel. no. in Delhi: +91 98101 34322
Mitzi Borromeo, Press Officer, WWF Int., mborromeo@wwfint.org, tel. no. in Delhi: +91 98101-52359

Note to Editors: Additional information on the carbon standards is available, including a technical summary of the gold standard guidelines.