The future of the first--and still largest by far--multi-lateral market-based initiative to address climate change by seeking to promote and foster development of sustainable, low carbon economies - the United Nations Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) - is in doubt. That has led to the formation of a high-level panel and the commission of a broad research project aimed at reforming the CDM in order to assure it has a future.
Established under the auspices of the United Nations and signatories to the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM is the most substantial vehicle to date for the transfer of clean energy technology and development of clean energy projects between developed and less developed countries. It enables clean energy and clean tech project developers who qualify to earn CDM carbon emission offset credits that can be bought and sold on carbon emissions offset markets for each metric ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided.
Creation of the CDM “has spawned more than 4,500 projects in 75 developing countries, everything from wind energy and efficient cookstove projects to landfill gas and large industrial projects,” the CDM Policy Dialog panel notes in a press release.
Tbe CDM reform movement: Disintegration not an option
Allowing the CDM to “disintegrate,” could prove fatal to a broad, international political consensus regarding the increasingly urgent need for and benefits of governments establishing strong, persistent and proactive clean energy and clean technology policies and national action plans, the CDM Policy Dialog panel asserts.
In a press release they note that the CDM “has helped nations mitigate approximately one billion tonnes [metric tons] of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions in a manner that realized US$3.6 billion in savings for developed countries,” the panel found as a result of its research. “Over this same period, the CDM has mobilized more than US$215 billion in investments in developing countries, thereby accelerating economic growth and poverty alleviation,” the CDM study authors state.
Aiming to address the claims of critics and assure the CDM's viability, the CDM Policy Dialog panel officially presented its final report at the 69th meeting of the CDM Executive Board in Bangkok, urging “that its recommendations be implemented fully and without delay with a timetable that will bring them into effect by the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December 2013.”
The panel's CDM reform report specifies 51 actions spanning 12 areas. They cover issues such as “the crisis of demand, mitigation impact, linking of carbon markets, sustainable development, regional distribution, governance structure, additionality, stakeholder and public engagement, as well as mechanisms for appeals and grievances.”
“The CDM was set up to do two things: give countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol some flexibility in how they meet those commitments, and assist countries to achieve their sustainable development goals,” the panel explains. To address its shortcomings and critics' contentions, panel members have made the following recommendations:
An experienced, independent journalist, editor and researcher, Andrew has crisscrossed the globe while reporting on sustainability, corporate social responsibility, social and environmental entrepreneurship, renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology. He studied geology at CU, Boulder, has an MBA in finance from Pace University, and completed a certificate program in international governance for biodiversity at UN University in Japan.