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Promoting Clean Development Competing Market Mechanisms Post-2012
Working Paper

Published By

Harvard International Review

Fall 2009

(Excerpt) According to climate scientists, averting the worst consequences of climate change requires that the increase in global temperature should be limited to 2°C (or 3.6°F). to achieve that objective, global emissions of green house gases (GHGs)—the main human cause of global warming—must be reduced to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.

The key to successful climate change abatement at those scales lies in leveraging the collective actions of developed and developing countries. Cumulatively, developed countries have been responsible for most human emissions of GHGs. that picture will be quite different in the future as emissions from the developing world take over the top mantle. Given this dynamic, there is a general agreement internationally that developed countries will lead emissions reductions efforts and that developing countries will follow with “nationally ap- propriate mitigation actions.” turning that agreement into environmentally beneficial action requires close international coordination between the developed and developing countries in allocating the responsibility for the necessary reductions and following up with credible actions. However, the instruments employed so far to promote the necessary collective action have proved to be insufficient, unscalable, and questionable in terms of environmental benefit and economic efficiency.

Currently, the most important and visible link be- tween developed and developing countries’ efforts on climate change is the Clean development Mechanism (CdM). the CdM uses market mechanisms—the “carbon markets”—to direct funding from developed countries to those projects in developing countries that lead to reductions in emissions of warming gases. In reality, the experience with the CdM has been mixed at best since its inception in 2006. while the CdM has successfully channeled funding to many worthy projects that reduce emissions of warming gasses, it has also spawned myriad projects with little environmental benefits. overall, the CdM has led to a significant overpayment by developed countries for largely dubious emissions reductions in developing countries.

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