Campaign body commits to offsetting Doha footprint, highlighting need for action on CERs

In a bold gesture designed to highlight the plummeting value of Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), a campaign body is committing to use its own members’ CERs to offset the estimated carbon footprint from travel and accommodation of all attendees at the Doha Climate Change Conference (COP 18).

The Project Developer Forum (PD Forum), the clean energy campaign body which will be lobbying key influencers on this issue at next week’s conference, has pledged to transfer 25,000 CERs into the Clean Development Mechanism Registry’s voluntary cancellation account stating that the purpose of the cancellation is to offset the estimated emissions from travel and accommodation of 10,000 participants at the Doha Climate Change Conference.

The PD Forum has estimated the full carbon footprint of travel and accommodation at the conference to be 25,000 tonnes based on a conservative estimate of emissions from travel and hotel accommodation.  These emissions will be offset using the Clean Development Mechanism’s newly created voluntary cancellation procedures.

As the PD Forum makes clear in its written communication to the UNFCCC, the overall financial value of such a stock of CERs, at today’s prices, is in the region of US$25,000 — a sum that casts the lack of global ambition to promote clean energy in a starker light than ever before. Prior to growing doubts over the future of emissions trading, these CERs were worth in the region of US$20 each, which would have made the PD Forum’s gesture worth US$500,000.

The PD Forum has launched this campaign to save the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, which faces imminent collapse due to a drop in value of the carbon credits which serve as its internal currency. The group’s members, including some of the biggest names in carbon mitigation across international markets (see, are responsible for triggering a combined total of US$32 billion of clean energy investment in the developing world over the past decade. In total, the CDM has triggered in excess of US$188bn of investment in registered low carbon projects and technologies in 80 developing countries.

The group is committed to finding practical, sustainable solutions to increase the value of CERs. Policy options proposed by the group’s members include:

  • Developed economies taking more demanding targets and re-setting the limits on the use of CERs;
  • Advanced developing countries taking and paying for a share of CERs as a contribution towards their own efforts to reduce emissions;
  • An increase in CERs’ worth through Government mandated schemes to support value;
  • Continuing the work of the CDM Executive board to further improve the environmental integrity of the CDM.

Gareth Phillips, Chairman of the PD Forum, said:

“The fact that we are able to make this gesture shows how far the value of CERs has fallen. If we are to save the CDM, policymakers must act swiftly and decisively to increase the price of CERs.

“The imminent collapse of the Clean Development Mechanism is the greatest threat yet to clean energy in the developing world. The scheme has directed billions of dollars of investment towards the kind of clean energy projects that will create a sustainable future for our planet, but the plummeting value of CERs places this future in grave danger.”

Assaad Razzouk, Group CEO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a founding member of the PD Forum, said:

“We are delighted to fully support this PD Forum initiative which we believe highlights the fact that the private sector no longer has any incentive from the CDM to channel investment into clean energy in developing countries, at a time when government funding is stretched worldwide.  International investors want to play their full role in combating climate change, the world’s foremost existential issue, but cannot unless policy makers and politicians revive the CDM by creating additional demand for its currency.”


1. The Project Developer Forum is a collective voice to represent the interests of companies developing and investing in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction and mitigation projects in international markets under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and other carbon emission reduction schemes and programs. The PD Forum represents the sector of industry that has invested significant financial and intellectual capacity in the development of the CDM, JI and capacity building in developing countries. We also represent a significant part of the future of GHG mitigation in both developed and developing countries. Without the involvement of companies such as those represented by the PDF, the future of the CDM, new market mechanisms, project based mitigation activities and the inclusion of many Non-Annex 1 countries in the carbon market will be jeopardized.

2. The Project Developer Forum is uniquely positioned to speak out about these topics because its members have real experience in the identification, development and financing of some of the most cost effective and socially beneficial GHG mitigation activities the world has ever seen. In addition, members have worked, and continue to work alongside compliance grade and voluntary regulatory authorities to ensure that emission reduction and mitigation projects create real, long term emission reductions and deliver sustainable development benefits to the host nations. The PD Forum’s members have designed and implemented many of the methodologies used to monitor, verify and report GHG emission reductions and we have catalyzed the development of the host country institutional architecture which is now leading the development of domestic policies including domestic emission trading schemes.

3. Details of emission calculations: Assume 10,000 attendees, flying in equal proportions from six global hubs, via London where no direct flights exist (Rio de Janeiro and Washington). Half of the participants fly premium and half fly economy. According to the ICAO flight emission calculator ( emissions are as follows:

Econ (kg) Prem (kg) London Doha Return 759 1518 Rio Doha Return 2065 4130 Singapore Doha Return 836 1672 Beijing Doha Return 860 1720 Washington DC Doha Return 1509 3018 Johannesburg Doha Return 872 1744 Average emissions (Kg) from flights per delegate: 1725.25

Emissions from hotels in Qatar are estimated to be 50 Kg per person per night, reflecting the very high energy intensity of life in Qatar. Industry estimates for hotels in other locations are in the region of 30Kg per night. The calculation is based on an assumption that delegates stay for 15 nights.

4. Procedures for the voluntary cancellation of CERs are available here

5. For more information on the PDF and its members, visit

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