Carbon Dioxide--economics; Carbon Footprint--economics; Drinking Water; Water Purification--economics
Carbon credits are an increasingly prevalent market-based mechanism used to subsidize household water treatment technologies (HWT). This involves generating credits through the reduction of carbon emissions from boiling water by providing a technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Proponents claim this process delivers health and environmental benefits by providing clean drinking water and reducing greenhouse gases. Selling carbon credits associated with HWT projects requires rigorous monitoring to ensure households are using the HWT and achieving the desired benefits of the device. Critics have suggested that the technologies provide neither the benefits of clean water nor reduced emissions. This study explores the perspectives of carbon credit and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts on HWT carbon credit projects.
Thirteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants from the WASH and carbon credit development sectors. The interviews explored perceptions of the two groups with respect to the procedures applied in the Gold Standard methodology for trading Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER) credits.
Agreement among the WASH and carbon credit experts existed for the concept of suppressed demand and parameters in the baseline water boiling test. Key differences, however, existed. WASH experts’ responses highlighted a focus on objectively verifiable data for monitoring carbon projects while carbon credit experts called for contextualizing observed data with the need for flexibility and balancing financial viability with quality assurance.
Carbon credit projects have the potential to become an important financing mechanism for clean energy in low- and middle-income countries. Based on this research we recommend that more effort be placed on building consensus on the underlying assumptions for obtaining carbon credits from HWT projects, as well as the approved methods for monitoring correct and consistent use of the HWT technologies in order to support public health impacts.
Creative Commons License
The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Summers, S.K., Rainey, R., Kaur, M., Graham, J.P. (2015) CO2 and H2O: Understanding Different Stakeholder Perspectives on the Use of Carbon Credits to Finance Household Water Treatment Projects. PLoS One 10(4): e0122894