What does the future hold for Kyoto’s Clean Development Mechanism?

UntitledOn my first day at COP 20 / CMP 10, I had the opportunity to watch CDM’s draft decision discussions – thanks to the European Union, which defended observers’ opportunity to watch the session. It was five hours of long discussions and little progress. Despite the particularities of many of the debated paragraphs, there was only one ghost in the room: the uncertain future of CDM in the post-2020 agreement.

CDM was a mechanism created in a time when international environmental agreements were drafted for two, distinct worlds: developed and developing countries. But since 1997, much has changed.  With China’s GHG emissions surpassing the United States’ emissions by far, the post-2020 agreement will no longer be able to give amnesty to developing countries that are also large emitters.

But how will CDM adapt to a world divided into developed, developing, and least developed countries?

During this second week of COP20/CMP10, Parties continue to discuss improvements to CDM’s accounting system, modalities and procedures.  But it is noticeable how little effort is truly invested in moving the discussions forward.  The lack of certainty regarding CDM’s future, especially for developing countries that host a great number of CDM projects, casts a long shadow on these negotiations, producing a lack of commitment to really improving CDM’s rules.