Is the Clean Development Mechanism Sustainable? Some Critical Aspects
Sustainable Development Law & Policy, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 15-21, Winter 2008
17 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008 Last revised: 26 Apr 2014
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is rapidly developing as an important element in international climate policy by providing a cost-effective means of complying with the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. Defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM provides for Annex I Parties to implement project activities that reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in non-Annex I Parties, in return for certified emission reductions. The CDM is not only an innovative mechanism that builds a bridge over the North/South gap in the Kyoto Scheme, but it also brings together private economic interests and public climate policy by helping to channel private sector investment toward climate-friendly projects that otherwise might not have taken place. Therefore, it is crucial that a CDM project delivers real climate benefits without causing other environmental damages, and therefore upholds environmental integrity. Yet, a legal challenge remains of how to ensure the CDM's environmental integrity. Environmental impacts of the CDM have already led buyers of carbon credits to increasingly try to protect themselves from liability for environmental damage caused by GHG projects. This paper analyses some of the legal and institutional drawbacks of the CDM and seeks to provide some guidance on how to improve the current situation.
Keywords: CDM, environmental integrity, additionality, sustainable development
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