60-hour work weeks, all in the name of climate change

September 10, 2009

Some politicians may be accused of dragging their heels when it comes to dealing with climate change, but you can’t say members of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism’s executive board aren’t clocking in the hours.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), an emissions trading scheme under the Kyoto Protocol worth $33 billion last year according to the World Bank, allows companies and countries to outsource their greenhouse gas reduction efforts by investing in clean energy projects in emerging countries like China and India, where making emissions cuts costs less.

Projects are submitted to the CDM for registration and a staff of over 100 examine and scrutinize each one to ensure environmental integrity.

The whole scheme is supervised by a 20-member executive board, chaired by Lex de Jonge of the Netherlands’ environment ministry.

“The members are all employed by governments and assigned to the board. They don’t get a salary from the UN but they receive a daily subsistence allowance to pay for meals, hotel and travel costs,” de Jonge said at the Reuters Climate and Alternative Energy Summit.

“As chair of the board, I spend 75% of my time on CDM issues and 25% on domestic issues relating to my actual job,” he added.

The CDM’s executive board holds some 7 to 8 week-long meetings a year, up from 5 meetings in 2005, the year international emissions trading really began to take shape.

“They’re quite long days. We start at 9am and it’s seldom that we finish before 7 or 8pm. The worst I’ve ever seen was we worked until 3am,” de Jonge said.

Between board meetings, de Jonge said members must attend meetings for other related panels or working groups to which they belong. These extra-curricular duties can take an additional 6-8 weeks a year. Factor in the additional work required to prepare for these meetings and you’re looking at months, not weeks.

“If you add it all up, between 25 and 40 percent of a member’s working year is devoted to the board, and that is sometimes difficult for board members because they have other jobs to attend to,” de Jonge explained.

Would you work this much for climate change?

To read our Summit interview with Lex de Jonge, click here


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There’s all sorts of “extra” work that needs to be done (and of course some attended seat-time in meetings), I’m interested in learnign where the developments in low-Carbon technology is coming from, adn what steps are being taken legislatively to sustain a cost for carbon emisions that will drive the market forces to curtail emisions…Otherwise this talk about bureacrats spendign tooo much time in meetings, seems bit hollow no?

Thanks for thoughts on the following: http://wp.me/pC6Bw-3I

Posted by Jo | Report as abusive

I definitely would work this hard, already do in order to make a difference in climate change. I guess my worry would be in performing all this work, and I am sure everyone else shares this concern: , will all this work we are doing move us forward or are we just preaching to the choir of those attendees. What is the message that is getting out to the public and what can they implement today in either their businesses or personal life that will contribute to slowdown or reversal of climate change.

Posted by Marilynn Hill | Report as abusive

First, the planet’s climate has always changed and will always change. Next, do politicians really think the best thing to do is freeze people to death? By raising the price of electricity that is what they are doing. Every stopped construction of a new nuclear plant or new coal facility means less electricity for heat. I do not have air and I do not care if people have to pay more for electricity for that but when I have to read about a mother using her electic stove for heat for her and her two children..and therby burning down her apartment, shame on you global warmists. Everyone who believes they are harming the planet by using fossil fuels should stop using them.

Posted by Eve | Report as abusive