The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) has registered its 6,000th project, bringing the total renewable power delivered by the scheme to 110GW, with 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 avoided to date.
The 6,000th registered project will install 21MW of wind power capacity to feed the electric power grid in south central Vietnam, 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, roughly equivalent to the total power generation capacity of Africa. As at 1 February 2013, over 1.2 billion Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits had been generated, saving the equivalent of Japan’s total CO2 emissions in 2011.
“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). China has 53% of the registered projects and 61% of issued CERs, by far the largest market for CDM projects.
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 per cent 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.
At the 71st meeting of the CDM Executive Board, held in Bonn, Germany on 1 February, the board agreed a new two year plan to improve the functioning of the mechanism and to build on its success.
The plan describes a range of projects intended to provide for simplicity and predictability in the operation of the CDM and ensure the integrity of certified emission reductions (CERs), ensure the CDM makes a growing contribution to the mitigation of climate change and sustainable development, further expand the geographic reach of the CDM, and promote the use, and safeguard the reputation of, the CDM as a mechanism for low carbon development.
“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.”