by Joe Perullo
The Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting to the Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, also known as the CMP, began today with the issue of the Clean Development Mechansim (CDM). Martin Hession, the Chair of the CDM Executive Board (CDM EB), opened the discussion with a report of improvements made to the CDM. These included improved verifications of proposed projects and words like “[improved] efficiency” and “effectiveness.” It all sounded vague and unreliable, but nothing more substantive could have been hoped for for when the country delegates took the floor.
Most country delegates praised the CDM EB. Many of them began their speeches recognizing the hard work and progress the CDM EB has made. These opinions came from both developed and developing countries. There is no surprise that developed country members were in complete approval of the CDM, since it is the most economic way they can meet their commitments. As for developing country members, there are two strategies I see for their approvals of the CDM. Although many CDM projects have empirically had harmful long term effects in developing countries, it is clear that many developing countries see the CDM as the only way to encourage financial investment from the global north. Another reason is that developing countries may recognize that the CDM is one of the only things keeping many developed country parties committed to the Kyoto Protocol.
Venezuela was one of the few countries who harshly criticized the CDM. Its statement was short but included the underrated fact that offsets have led to increased carbon emissions. No other member addressed this issue.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo was in favor of the CDM provided that there would be a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The discussion on the CDM winded down with a member of the World Bank. Her statements were very optimistic in regards to the CDM’s future. Specifically, the World Bank hoped to see improved access to the CDM to developed countries and finds the CDM to be an important bridge to new market mechanisms.
Most of the opposition to carbon markets seems to come from third parties such as civil society. A speech given by the youth, in particular by our very own Julian Velez, was extremely counter to what was said by most parties.
The interests and world views that I’ve seen define the carbon markets are appearing more and more complex to me. Yesterday I got a chance to ask Hession if he would be willing to let me interview him. He agreed, but I have yet to hear back from him…