CDM Takes Off Around the World

CDM Takes Off Around the World

The United Nations is claiming its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is causing a boom in emission-saving initiatives around the world.

The CDM regulates approval of projects that allow developed nations to offset a part of their own carbon emissions by investing in carbon-reducing projects in the developing world.

The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)'s year-end snapshot of CDM projects revealed that all regions had massively increased the number of projects between 2004 and November this year from 61 to 4,237. At the same time, UNEP is projecting that latter figure will almost double by 2012.

To date, Asia/Pacific projects have gone from 18 in 2004 to 3,240 this year. In Latin America the number has gone from 41 to 814; in Africa from 2 to 87; in the Middle East from zero to 54; and in the combined Eastern Europe and Central Asia region from zero to 42.

Perhaps not surprisingly most projects -- 2,659 -- involved renewables, which to the U.N. includes hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biogas and tidal. In an otherwise upbeat report, the UNEP said some project types "are lacking behind their real potential" and specifically pointed to energy efficiency in buildings, which had garnered only 14 projects worldwide.

This is despite the fact that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has warned that building-related emissions could nearly double from almost 9 billion tons in 2004 to nearly 16 billion in 2030.

Achim Steiner, U.N. undersecretary general and UNEP executive director, said one of the challenges facing CDM was to overcome some of the hurdles that are keeping back projects in areas such as the building sector.

Nevertheless, he said: "CDM and the carbon markets as a whole are one of the great success stories of international co-operative action on climate change."

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.