Does Global Climate Policy Promote Low-Carbon Cities? Lessons Learnt from the CDM

CIS Working Paper No. 4-2009

29 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2010

See all articles by Maike Sippel

Maike Sippel

University of Stuttgart - Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy (IER)

Axel Michaelowa

University of Zurich - Institute of Political Science; University of Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS)

Date Written: February 12, 2010

Abstract

An increasing proportion of greenhouse gas emissions is produced in urban areas in industrializing and developing countries. Recent research shows that per capita emissions in cities like Bangkok, Cape Town or Shanghai have already reached the level of cities like London, New York or Toronto. Large parts of the building stock and service infrastructure in cities in rapidly developing countries is built in the coming decade or two. Decisions taken in this sector today may therefore lock in a high emissions path.

Based upon a survey of projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, we find that only about 1% of CDM projects have been submitted by municipalities, mostly in the waste management sector. This low participation is probably due to a lack of technical know how to develop CDM projects and an absence of motivation due to the long project cycle and the limited “visibility” of the projects for the electorate. Projects in the buildings and transport sector are rare, mainly due to heavy methodological challenges. A case study of the city network ICLEI and its experience with cities’ participation in the CDM adds insights from the practitioner side.

We conclude that CDM reforms may make it easier for municipalities to engage in the CDM, and that new forms of cooperation between municipalities and project developers, potentially facilitated by ICLEI, are required to help to realize the urban CDM potential.

Keywords: CDM, cities, energy, climate policy, mitigation, transport, waste

JEL Classification: D78, G38, H77, Q28, Q38, Q48, R42, R51, R53

Suggested Citation

Sippel, Maike and Michaelowa, Axel, Does Global Climate Policy Promote Low-Carbon Cities? Lessons Learnt from the CDM (February 12, 2010). CIS Working Paper No. 4-2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1551861 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1551861

Maike Sippel (Contact Author)

University of Stuttgart - Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy (IER) ( email )

Heßbrühlstrasse 49a
D-70565 Stuttgart
Germany

Axel Michaelowa

University of Zurich - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Dep. of International Relations
Seilergraben 49
CH-8001 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 433550073 (Phone)
+41 448204206 (Fax)

University of Zurich - Center for Comparative and International Studies (CIS) ( email )

Affolternstrasse 56
8050 Zurich
Switzerland
+41 433550073 (Phone)
+41 448204206 (Fax)

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