Member states have been accused of financing municipal waste projects in developing countries that would be illegal in the EU.
This is the main finding of an investigation of 300 projects in 50 countries by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (Gaia).
The projects – incinerators and landfill gas facilities – are said to violate key EU regulations on waste disposal.
Gaia says that independent studies have shown the schemes “actually increase” greenhouse gas emissions and toxic pollution while “undermining” incentives for recycling and composting.
Gaia says the issue of the EU’s “double standards” on waste policy also “threatens to be an embarrassment” for the EU in the run-up to Rio+20 – the United Nations conference on sustainable development in June.
According to Gaia’s report, ‘EU’s double standards on waste and climate policy,’ harmful waste projects in the developing world supported by EU carbon credits include incinerators that lack adequate pollution controls and incinerators that “maximise rather than minimise” the burning of recyclables.
Other offending projects, it claims, include landfills that “deliberately” increase emissions of greenhouse gases in order to receive credit for capturing them.
The report cites what it claims to be evidence from projects funded by EU states under the CDM. This includes a landfill site in Concepción, Chile, which Gaia says has been “incentivised” to landfill more organic matter to produce enough methane to flare it successfully.