Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism Surpasses 6,000 Projects
The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM), the international market-based tool that incentivizes greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in developing countries, passed the 6,000 project milestone this week.
CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reductions (CERs), each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
The 6,000th registered project will install 21 megawatts of wind power capacity to feed the electric power grid in south central Viet Nam, displacing fossil-fuel-generated power and reducing emissions by 32,000 tonnes per year; the equivalent of removing the emissions of 6,058 cars each year.
In the past 10 years, CDM projects have delivered 110,000 MW of renewable energy capacity. That is roughly equivalent to the total power generation capacity of Africa.
“This is a remarkable milestone for a remarkable tool created to combat climate change and contribute to sustainable development,” said Peer Stiansen, the new chair of the CDM Executive Board. “Participation in the mechanism has been well beyond expectations, which is the surest sign of the value that countries have placed in the CDM.”
There are registered CDM projects in 83 developing countries, ranging from projects that reduce emissions by replacing inefficient wood stoves, to solar power projects that displace fossil fuels, to large industrial projects that destroy extremely potent greenhouse gases (GHGs).
Last December, when they met at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, governments agreed to a second eight-year commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol and confirmed a continuing key role for market-based approaches and tools like the CDM.
Despite its success – research released last year estimated that the CDM has spurred US $215 billion in investment – the mechanism is currently challenged by low prices for the CERs produced by CDM projects. The value of CERs has declined more than 90 percent in the past year, due to underlying weak demand, which in turn is a function of the level of national commitments to reduce GHG emissions.
“The effects of climate change are already being seen, so increased action on climate change is inevitable. Tools like the CDM will become indispensable,” said Stiansen. “The CDM is a functioning and effective tool that has proved its worth. Given the tangible threat that we face from climate change, it makes sense that we use the tools that we have at our disposal.”
For more about the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM).
For more on the Phuong Mai 3 Wind Power Project, CDM project 7279.