A Clean Development Mechanism with global atmospheric benefits for a post-2012 climate regime

Research paper by Lambert Schneider

Indexed on: 01 Apr '09Published on: 01 Apr '09Published in: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics


The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol allows the crediting of emission reductions from greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement projects in developing countries. The CDM is an offsetting mechanism and, in principle, a zero game to the atmosphere: emission reductions achieved from CDM projects allow industrialised countries to increase their emissions, respectively. The article explores how the CDM could be moved beyond a pure offsetting mechanism in a post-2012 climate regime by crediting only a fraction of the emission reductions from CDM projects, thereby providing a net atmospheric benefit. Potential implications on the carbon market are assessed in a qualitative manner and different design options for such a reform to the CDM are discussed. An important conclusion is that the effects on carbon market depend considerably on whether the use of the CDM is limited through caps or not.