Draft UN text foresees limited CDM expansion

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate change negotiators are planning only a limited expansion of the Kyoto protocol's project-based clean development mechanism (CDM) after 2012, according to the latest draft text discussed under Copenhagen's Kyoto track.

Only two of seven options for reforming the CDM are about extending the mechanism beyond its current scope: crediting national mitigation actions by developing countries (NAMAs) and carbon credits for small and large projects below sectoral emission benchmarks.

All other options are intended to improve the CDM's regional distribution and easing access to it. Proposals include simplifying additionality requirements for small projects and exemptions and postponements of registration fees for the poorest countries.

The issue of whether to allow carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects into the CDM is still open, while nuclear power will probably be kept out. There are unlikely to be new co-benefits requirements on carbon reduction projects.

Contrary to an earlier version of the text, there is no proposal to include forestry credits nor recommendations to improve the CDM executive board's governance. Agreement on the latter is highly political and will probably be left to a later stage.

The two proposals for extending the CDM are all that is left of sectoral approaches, according to Rémi Gruet, climate advisor to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The term itself has been dropped because of continued strong opposition to it from developing countries.

It is because of this opposition that negotiators are focusing on near-term improvements. Sectoral approach advocates such as the EU also realise now it would take years to get them off the ground because of the need to define sectors, start monitoring, verification and reporting (MRV), and define crediting baselines.

NAMAs are the actions developing countries would take to reduce their emissions under a new global climate treaty. There would be three types: those financed by developing countries themselves, those financed at least in part by them, and those financed by the carbon market.

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