The Clean Development Mechanism as a Governance Problem

This essay analyses the evolution of legal rules, questions of law interpretation, as well as climate and development policy effects of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as a mechanism which is linked to state and company-level emissions trading (ETS) and combines transnational climate protection law with the promotion of renewable energies. The essential goal of the CDM is to provide opportunities for cost efficient compliance with the Kyoto Protocol targets entered by Annex I countries, and to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development. Therefore, Annex I countries are allowed to achieve part of their emission reduction targets by conducting mitigation measures in developing countries. It turns out, however, that specific CDM projects are frequently questionable in terms of climate and development policy. This is also related to enforcement problems, which represent a variation of the common environmental law issue of the latent identity of interests of controllers and controlled ones. It is hence questionable whether the discussed and partly decided reforms of the CDM and the subsequent restrictions adopted by the EU are sufficient to address the underlying deficits. That implies, at the same time, a kind of exemplary governance analysis on the basis of important aspects of the ETS.

Already in 2009, the climate conference in Copenhagen aimed at setting up a (new) climate protection regime for the time after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). Despite the fact that the economic, ecological and peace-threatening consequences of climate change are nowadays widely acknowledged, the foregoing objective of a new regime has not yet been reached, with very little improvement in sight. By the end of 2011, the parties to the Kyoto Protocol agreed to a second commitment period at Durban, but quantified emissions targets have not yet been agreed upon. Furthermore, a decision on the transferability of assigned amount units (AAUs) to the second commitment period was not reached in Durban. The parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) broadly resolved to adopt a new international climate protection agreement by 2015, which then should enter into force in the year 2020. It remains unclear, however, whether this goal will be achieved and if the new agreement is going to be sufficient to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. The insufficient character of these and other targets currently under review, as well as other problems of current and potential climate protection regimes, are not assessed in this article, but are briefly discussed in the conclusions. Instead, the focus of the article lies on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is aimed at facilitating the cost efficient achievement of emissions targets by industrialized states. The Kyoto Protocol not only enables industrialized nations to fulfill their reduction commitments through domestic emission reduction measures, but also allows them to benefit from emission reduction potentials in developing countries and emerging economies by way of the CDM. The following text provides an overview of the legal framework of the CDM, and provides a perspective on the agreed reforms and related discussions. Questions of legal interpretation and governance issues are highlighted in the process.

Copyright: © Lexxion Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
Quelle: Issue 4/2012 (Dezember 2012)
Seiten: 12
Preis inkl. MwSt.: € 41,65
Autor: Prof. Dr. Felix Ekardt
Anne-Katrin Exner

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