ISLAMABAD, July 7: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a department within the Ministry of National Disaster Management aiming to spread awareness on environment, has proved its worth since it was initiated six years ago. But, the bureaucracy is currently posing a threat to its positive reputation and opportunity to earn more carbon credits.
The Ministry of National Disaster Management ended the contracts of its eight technical experts from the CDM on June 30, 2012. The termination, according to officials in the ministry, comes at a bad time – especially when Pakistan had until December 31, 2012 to register projects with the United Nation Frame Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to earn maximum carbon credits.The situation had deteriorated to the point that the eight CDM professionals went without salaries for nine months before they were finally paid in the last week of June 2012. With no electricity and dead phones, the cell was struggling for survival. According to sources, the ministry was contemplating advertising for the positions afresh.
“The ministry has asked the eight employees to deliver diligently in the CDM cell, continue with their jobs, and apply again after the posts are re-advertised in the open market,” said a senior official in the ministry explaining how the present CDM staff had been told that they would be given preference.
The CDM was initiated under the Kyoto Protocol of the UNFCCC to cut losses in the country by doing away with inefficient energy practices in the manufacturing industry. The cell has been providing necessary support to stakeholders in reducing greenhouse gases by identifying, developing, marketing and managing CDM projects for companies. Some of these include generating power, researching renewable energy solutions, weaving mills, and solid waste disposal. It has helped Pakistan generate money by reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The CDM cell was first established under the Ministry of Environment, and then tossed back and forth between the Planning Commission and Ministry of Water and Power, before finally landing in the lap of Ministry of National Disaster Management.
According to the ministry, Pakistan has earned $32 million in certified emissions reductions (CERs) with only 14 projects registered with UNFCCC, since 2007. With 10 more CDM projects under development and another 46 awaiting approval, the scope of earning carbon credits was unlimited.
The source in the ministry explained how India has registered between 1, 000 to 1, 200 projects so far, China nearly 2, 000, and are going full throttle to make the best of the opportunity.
“The time is ripe to avail the opportunity and tap into the carbon credits market before this year ends,” he said.
Joint Secretary Administration’s Khalid Siddique sounded optimistic when he explained how the CDM project is an essential programme for the Ministry. Further elaborating that the CDM programme faces certain hurdles, the senior official said, “There is no question of closing the programme and make the best of the carbon market. In fact we are thinking of including more activities to increase the scope of the programme.”
He also explained that there had been problems since the Ministry of Environment was devolved, and the CDM cell was placed under numerous departments before coming to the Ministry of National Disaster Management.
“There were doubts about recruitments of the CDM staff. The posts are being re-advertised for open competition. The existing staff will be given preference. They have been associated with the programme and have relevant experiences,” the official said.