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How additional is the Clean Development Mechanism? Analysis of the application of current tools and proposed alternatives. Study prepared for DG CLIMA.

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... However The dam is expected to have an operational lifespan of 50 years, until circa 2064. hydropower projects being included under this mechanism, owing to the environmental and social impacts of such projects, and for failing to meet additionality criteria (Cames et al., 2016, Haya and Parekh, 2011, Koo, 2017. Campaigners disputed Hidrosogamoso's inclusion in the CDM, providing a list of arguments including the lack of consultation and the environmental and social impacts of the project (Ríos Vivos Santander, 2010). ...
... Similarly, on the side of the fishing community, they wanted recognition of being affected by the dam, as a route towards justice and peace. Although one interviewee said that as long as the government approves the construction of dams and fracking, there will be no peace: (Cames et al., 2016, Haya and Parekh, 2011, Koo, 2017. The inadequate consultation in all three instancesover the construction of the dam, the declaration of the national park and the implementation of the restoration projectsrepresents a component of structural violence, where the power to decide over the distribution of resources is unevenly distributed (Galtung, 1969). ...
Thesis
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Environmental offsets aim to find a balance between economic growth and biodiversity conservation by compensating for the adverse environmental impacts of development. In Colombia, environmental offsets are being put forward as the engine for a new sustainable development model. Colombia is considered a pioneer in environmental policy in Latin America, has various environmental compensation instruments and is currently taking a lead in the region in biodiversity offsetting. This research examines environmental offsetting in policy and practice in Colombia, tracing the evolution of offsetting policy since the 1970s and the drivers behind the latest biodiversity offset regulations. Crossing the landscapes of Colombia, from rural fincas in the Andes and the valley of the Magdalena Medio, to the offices of industry, government and NGOs, this thesis examines the subject of offsetting and the meanings of biodiversity from different angles, revealing the importance of biodiversity as a national asset, a symbol of identity and inseparable from cultural diversity. Through the use of semi-structured interviews, policy analysis and a case study of the hydroelectric dam Hidrosogamoso and forest offsets implemented in Parque Nacional Natural Serranía de los Yariguíes, this research offers empirical evidence of the successes, multidimensional challenges, contradictory policies and contested practices associated with offsets. Drawing on political ecology and peace and conflict studies, centred on the themes of biodiversity and conflict, the research explores the conflicts that arise as a result of direct, systemic, and cultural violence towards people and nature, revealing parallels between a socio-ecological conflict at the impact site and the offset site. It draws attention to the threats facing human rights and environmental defenders amid historical patterns of colonisation and extractivism, land use conflicts and current post-conflict peacebuilding challenges. This study examines the discursive constructions of biodiversity and highlights the social impacts of offset projects implemented in a protected area, as well as the practical and ethical challenges of attempting to offset environmental harm, challenging win-win and no net loss narratives promoted under green growth agendas. It argues that by creating a reliance on extractive development and transnational capital to carry out conservation, offsets are a double-edged sword that risk becoming a new tool of (neo)extractivism that is ultimately environmentally and socially unsustainable.
... The potential for additional and not over-estimated carbon emission reductions (i.e., offsetting projects) between 2013 and 2020 was found to be 75% less likely to occur. In the same study, only 7% were found to have a high likelihood of success [28]. ...
... This is especially true when factoring the COVID-19 pandemic into the equation. Considering that purchasing offsets in large volumes has cost advantages, naturally, airlines would find effective ways to cooperate and form cartels [28]. ...
Article
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Overall, climate concerns have been on the global agenda for many years now. However, the aviation sector’s impact on climate change has been receiving increased attention recently. This is primarily due to the adoption of the 2016 carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international civil aviation (CORSIA) which was introduced by the international civil aviation organization (ICAO). The aims of our study are to analyze ICAO’s carbon offsetting reduction scheme through the lens of the triple bottom line (TBL) value creation dimensions and to explore implementation issues relevant to its success and alignment between regulatory and commercial capabilities. Findings from our analysis were presented to a pilot focus group to further our understanding of the area. After cross-examination of the carbon emission reduction implementation issues against the TBL dimensions, we show the gap between regulatory schemes and the realities of the sustainable commercial aviation sector to meet climate goals. By highlighting the regulatory versus commercial social capabilities, our study illuminates the dimensions which need to be considered in regulatory practice, emphasizing the necessity for commercial sustainability. We finally provide recommendations to be considered for the successful implementation of CORSIA.
... With the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, top carbon credit may become more and more significant and play a role as an intermediary to connect carbon markets around the world, helping to construct a global carbon market. In addition to the four top standards, Clean Development Mechanism [21] and Joint Implementation [22] based on the Kyoto Protocol are also major sources of carbon credit. Companies can develop carbon reduction projects under different verifying standards and apply for corresponding carbon credit issued by the registered standards. ...
Article
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A comprehensive solution for the Chinese international oil company to achieve carbon neutrality, through participation in the global carbon market, is developed. In this work, the overall landscape and operation mechanism of global carbon market is clearly and systematically illustrated by comparing the characteristics of the cap-and-trade system and the carbon tax. The feasibility of developing a global liquidity carbon market is pointed out by finding the connections among compulsory and voluntary carbon markets around the world. Based on the profound understanding of global carbon market, three levels of carbon trading strategies are proposed to help Chinese oil companies reduce emission cost: (1) Develop low carbon projects and trade in one jurisdiction; (2) develop low carbon projects and trade in different jurisdictions; and (3) trade carbon credits or allowance with physical commodities. Three decision-making methods are provided, respectively, for the above three levels of carbon trading strategies by introducing a shadow pricing model for carbon emission rights.
... Regular review and reform of CDM rules for energy projects can improve CDM project outcomes (Cames et al., 2016). For example, an annual assessment of the abundance of biomass is recommended to ensure it falls within valid provisions of biomass use and disposal while also adhering to accurate anaerobic conditions of biomass decay. ...
Chapter
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The clean development mechanism (CDM) represents hope for the world's pursuit of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Widely considered as the perfect mix of emissions control in developed economies and finance for crucial sustainable development in developing countries, the CDM was instituted with lofty hopes and expectations. However, from inception, the scientific literature is replete with analyses of its pros and cons as well as critical issues in need of long term solutions. Perhaps the most glaring defect of the CDM is its failure to fairly distribute projects in developing regions around the world leading to a neglect of economies in dire need of sustainable growth. Yet for its inadequacies, CDM has been a driver of several precursors to sustainable development. This chapter takes a precise look at CDM implementation across Africa, Southeast Asia and South America and discusses its deficiencies, achievements and recommendations.
... Regular review and reform of CDM rules for energy projects can improve CDM project outcomes (Cames et al., 2016). For example, an annual assessment of the abundance of biomass is recommended to ensure it falls within valid provisions of biomass use and disposal while also adhering to accurate anaerobic conditions of biomass decay. ...
Chapter
Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are major contributors to global warming and climate change. These gases modulate the atmospheric radiative forcing and play an important role in Earth's albedo. The emission level, global warming potential and the persistence of a GHG define its accumulation in the atmosphere and relative potential to change radiative forcing. The major anthropogenic GHGs include methane, nitric oxide, ozone, hydrochloroflourocarbons, chloroflourocarbons, sulfur hexaflouride and nitrogen triflouride. Besides these, some gases indirectly act as GHGs like carbon monoxide, non-methane hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. Many scientists have already warned regarding elevated emission trends after the industrial revolution. From last decades the emission of GHGs has tremendously increased in the atmosphere and the natural sinks of GHGs have contracted over time. Generally, fossil fuel burning and change in land use are major sources of GHGs while major sinks include soil, ocean and atmosphere. Interestingly the emission trends of greenhouse gases from different sources as well as the contribution of various countries to global greenhouse gasses budget have changed. Thus previous footprints, trends and projections regarding GHGs are needed to be reevaluated. Specific precautions and strategies are compatible to reduce GHGs emissions while further may help to obtain global temperature to above pre-industrial ambient temperature level by reducing 2°C in current temperature.
... It is designed to stimulate sustainable development through a carbon-trading system allowing industrialised countries to buy carbon-allowances from emission-reduction projects in, so-called, developing countries (UNFCCC, 2019). A 2016 report prepared for DG Clima, the Climate Action Department of the European Commission, showed that only 2% of the CDM project have a high likelihood of producing additional emission reductions while 85% of the projects are unlikely to produce emission reductions that are additional or not over-estimated (Cames et al., 2016). Consequently, the authors conclude that the CDM has "fundamental flaws in terms of overall environmental integrity" (Ibid: 11). ...
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The project of sustainable development, as reflected in the Agenda 2030 and the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, plays a central role in the story of crisis and transformation today. Yet, this project has rarely been the object of ideology critique. This paper formulates an ideology critique as a form of immanent critique of the project of sustainable development with a basis in Herbert Marcuse’s one-dimensionality thesis. The analysis of the ideology of sustainable development is structured around the three-pillar conception of sustainability which is applied in the Agenda 2030. The transformative potential of the project of sustainable development is assessed on the background of the analysis. The transformative potential in each of the three pillars is found to be inhibited by the project of sustainable development and the paper identifies and explains the ideological mechanisms through which this inhibition takes place. The research suggests that the project of sustainable development cannot be seen as a transformative project.
Preprint
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The aviation sector must substantially reduce its climate impacts to reach net-zero goals. Such a reduction, however, must not be limited to flight CO 2 emissions, since such a narrow focus leaves up to 80% of climate impacts unaccounted for – especially with further growth of air traffic. This study – based on rigorous life-cycle assessment combined with a time-dependent quantification of non-CO 2 climate impacts – shows that both electricity-based synthetic jet fuels and compensating climate impacts via direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) can enable climate-neutral aviation. However, with a continuous increase in air traffic, synthetic jet fuels produced with electricity from renewables would exert excessive pressure on economic and natural resources, while compensation via DACCS would require massive CO 2 storage volumes and prolong dependence on fossil fuels. Hence, the idea of a climate-neutral aviation will fly only if air traffic decreases to reduce the scale of climate impacts to mitigate.
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The paper gives a short introduction to the theory of carbon pricing and looks at the design features and, with reference to theory, the experiences of three carbon trading systems: the EU-Emission Trading System (ETS), Korea’s ETS and the Chinese national ETS and provincial pilot ETS. The paper is a contribution to a report to be published by VIET, the leading Vietnamese think tank on energy and climate policy.
Chapter
Estimates reveal a consistent failure to fulfill climate finance targets, with adaptation finance receiving proportionately less than finance directed to mitigating climate breakdown. Financing for loss and damage is even more critically inadequate. Though likely an underestimate, official figures peg adaptation costs at approximately $70 billion per year presently, growing to an estimated $140–300 billion by 2030 and $280–500 billion by 2050. Much of the scholarly literature and policy work is thus focused on determining how sufficient funds to finance adaptation will be raised and from where they will come. This challenge is perceived as especially acute given the absence of incentives for private sector investment in adaptation projects. The purpose of this chapter is to offer a critical intervention into discussions and debates on the related themes of adaptation finance and adaptation to climate breakdown with a particular focus on carbon markets. Abundant and well-documented evidence shows that carbon offsetting under the Kyoto Protocol allowed polluters in the Global North to avoid taking action, shifting the burden of responsibility for lowering emissions to distant nations and communities; that an overwhelming share of offset projects failed to fulfill their emission reduction commitments resulting in an overall increase in global emissions and that carbon offsetting today represents a dangerous obstacle to achieving real and lasting emission reductions consistent with limiting heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This chapter offers an intervention into critically oriented research on adaptation to climate breakdown in the Global South. Much of this literature has documented the problems with adaptation interventions—that they fail to problematize how pre-existing inequalities at the community level shape outcomes and heighten marginalization; that they fail to interrogate multi-scalar sources and structures of vulnerability and oppression, including relations of production and social reproduction, class, gender, race, and more, thereby threatening to reproduce them; that they fail to offer spaces for democratic dialogue, mutual learning and participatory practice in adaptation projects and that they conceptualize adaptation as a technical fix in response to external climate threats, thereby mystifying the imperative to understand climate breakdown and the need for adaptation as deeply enmeshed in, and constituted through, globalized socio-economic and political structures to which we must respond as part of adaptation interventions.
Chapter
Industry 4.0 has ushered in a new era of connectivity and communication within various industries. Motivated by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, long-term energy sustainability plans encourage decentralized/distributed technologies such as blockchain to take center stage, alongside Internet of Things (IoT) devices, smart sensors, and smart contracts. Blockchain is posited to be impactful in decarbonizing various industries as it is an immutable, secure, and transparent ledger that incentivizes industrial adoption through reduced costs and increased efficiency. Therefore, in this book chapter, we will delve into the motivation of blockchain applications in the following industries: 1) energy markets, 2) chemical and manufacturing industries, and 3) carbon trading markets. Various case studies and current blockchain practices in each respective industry will also be reviewed and we will discuss the potential of blockchain towards decarbonization.
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Suppressed Demand refers to a situation where Minimum Services Levels (MSL) necessary for human development are unavailable to people or only available to an inadequate level. Numerous barriers, such as low income levels or lack of infrastructure and skills prevent access to MSLs, such as potable water, cooking energy, lighting and electrification. We investigate the concept of suppressed demand as it applies to Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and market based incentives for GHG emission reductions. We argue that carbon markets have shown significant and catalytic potential for project development so far, but they have had limited impact on the poor, as the poorest tend to emit least. Including "suppressed demand" is in line with the objectives of the CDM and can go some way to re-balance the CDM as the development mechanism it was intended to be, and to make it relevant for the poor. Moreover, it is in fact necessary in terms of climate change limitation, as it is necessary to include low emissions areas into emission trading regimes and to incentivize lower emissions growth in poor regions. Through three case studies of CDM relevant development projects that deal with MSLs, we find that current CDM methods do not adequately address suppressed demand and that simple, transparent and common changes to assessment methods can have a significant impact on the leverage potential of these projects in the carbon market. Including "Suppressed Demand" in the CDM in the ways suggested can therefore facilitate project development in low emissions regions, by making it financially viable, and thereby avoid GHG emissions in the future.
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When carbon credit is granted for projects that would occur irrespective of any subsidy based on mitigation of global warming, the projects generate "hot air," or credit without a real climate benefit. This is the case for tropical hydroelectric dams, which are now a major destination for funds under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The countries that purchase the credit generated by dams can emit more greenhouse gases without their being offset by genuine mitigation. The limited funds available for mitigation are also wasted on subsidizing dams that would be built anyway. Tropical dams also emit substantially more greenhouse gases than are recognized in CDM accounting procedures. Tropical hydroelectric emissions are also undercounted in national inventories of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, giving them a role in undermining the effectiveness of as-yet undecided emission limits. Brazil's Santo Antnio Dam, now under construction on the Madeira River, provides a concrete example indicating the need for reform of CDM regulations by eliminating credit for hydroelectric dams.
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We demonstrate and apply methods for assessing global, system-scale effects on energy and greenhouse emissions of offset programs that explicitly consider the rules by which energy-based offset credits are awarded. We compare our approach to idealized calculations in which all regions, including those without mitigation obligations, face a common carbon tax. We find a substantial gap between potential reductions in emissions and those realized in a suite of hypothetical offset assignment protocols as well as between offset creation and system-scales emissions mitigation, even when project-scale additionality and compliance issues are absent and baselines are known with certainty. In the worst cases, seemingly reasonable rules were counterproductive—i.e. increased global carbon emissions, despite strictly meeting additionality and baseline requirements. But, even when we modified the rules for creating offsets to reflect more closely implementation practices, there remained a large gap between potential and realized mitigation. This difference is systemic and traces to the basic nature of offsets. Offsets subsidize the deployment of non-emitting technologies instead of penalizing the use of emitting technologies. As a consequence, offsets lower the cost of energy, and encourage greater use energy rather than its conservation. Thus, even in well-crafted programs, it is impossible to capture the full economic potential because the program lacks a means by which to engage energy conservation. We demonstrate that while offsets programs reduce the cost to regions with emissions caps, they may achieve this result at the expense of reduced global emissions mitigation.