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Climate finance in the waste sector: what is it about?

The interconnection between waste and climate change issues is not always obvious to ordinary people. Obviously the former deals with trash cans, while the latter deals with reducing carbon dioxide and typhoons, right?

Well, if you still think so, please feel free to check out our previous posts to learn how we bridged the two campaign fronts and created positive drivers for each other: Zero waste solutions provide a very simple way to reduce greenhouses Gas emissions, while creating green employment opportunities, reducing waste disposal pollution, and building a resource-saving society.

When we look at the flow of funds, the correlation between these two action areas will increase, especially the funds used to support climate change mitigation and adaptation (aka climate finance), which may eventually support waste incinerators, cement Kilns that burn used tires or collect landfill gas in open landfills. Rather, it is those projects that contribute to climate change rather than combat it.

These very unfortunate examples of counterproductive climate finance investments in the waste sector continue to emerge. For example, the German GIZ has donated 4.5 million euros to República Dominicana to implement NAMA, the Climate Action Project, which includes the promotion of industrial and municipal solid waste combustion, including waste tires from all over the country, in cement kilns to reduce Fossil fuels and help informal recyclers as excuses. The information was announced on the NAMA Day of COP 20 in Lima in December 2014. GAIA/ZWE took this opportunity to participate in and promote zero waste solutions. As argued elsewhere, burning industrial and municipal solid waste in cement plants will only exacerbate climate change, pollute local communities and replace recyclers.

Burning old tires instead of fossil fuels in cement plants can get climate funding, even if this practice actually exacerbates climate change. [/caption]

Another similar situation occurred in Indonesia. The country's national climate plan (Indonesia's NAMA plan) also encourages cement plants to substitute traditional fossil fuels and burn waste, and seeks international financial assistance of 2.063 million euros for this.

Although the news is frustrating, one can expect the United Nations Convention on Climate Change or the recently established Green Climate Foundation to approve a standard to ensure that no climate action or climate financing will actually exacerbate climate change. Believe it or not, this is actually a very real situation: there are no environmental standards and no project exclusion lists. As Karen Orenstein subtly pointed out, this is like a torture convention that does not prohibit torture.

When we heard from the top international financial leaders of the Multilateral Development Bank and the International Development Finance Club that the conversion of waste into energy is a sector they can invest to mitigate climate change, the level of alert continues to rise. These global leaders recently released common principles on which projects are suitable for receiving climate finance. As mentioned above, the conversion of waste into energy (such as waste incineration, landfill gas capture, and landfill gas combustion) is one of the eligible candidates.

It must be admitted that the common principles do refer to recycling projects as potential climate financing investments. Specifically, it reads as "recycling or reusing materials and waste as inputs for new products or as resources for waste recycling projects (only if the net emission reduction can be proven)."

Therefore, this may remind us that climate finance is above all a tool to mitigate climate change, and all of us should ensure that it flows to the right place. Now is the time for these financial institutions to agree on environmental standards. Of course, the waste sector urgently needs an environmental standard.

As developed countries pledged to provide 100 billion US dollars per year to support specific mitigation actions in developing countries by 2020, we should suspect that if most of these funds ultimately promote waste treatment projects and endanger zero waste, we should continue to observe and review Taking action when necessary can provide a higher-quality climate action strategy.

About the latest post

Veolia, a European company with export troubles-01/12/2017 Research shows that collecting organic matter alone is good for the climate-28/06/2017 Nepal: Waste and conversion in the Himalayas-31/05/2017

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