The CDM and Article 6

16 May 2017

Dear Delegates,


How are those SBSTA Article 6 negotiations going?


Since ECO is not allowed in the room, we cannot be sure. We heard that headings were being thrown around, so at least there might be an outline of things to talk about.


While discussions continue about the future of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), the Sustainable Development Mechanism, and how non-market approaches might function, we’re giving some thought to the future of the CDM.


The news that a comprehensive study for the European Commission found 85% of CDM projects lack environmental integrity (i.e. don’t really reduce emissions) and only about 2% of projects really delivering a mitigation benefit is distressing. This on top of the news from a few years back that JI wasn’t very good either. For the sake of the climate, we have to do better – especially when these credits are used to increase emissions beyond commitments.


There is a lot to learn from the CDM and it was a valuable experience. But as we approach the end of the last Kyoto commitment period, it is time to learn, move on, and make Article 6 fit for the climate purpose. In the Paris Agreement world, we need to build on good building blocks and delete undesirable parts (projects lacking environmental and developmental integrity) €“ we can’t adopt a copy-paste approach.


One side event last Thursday talked about a number of projects lacking resources to achieve their climate benefit. We support the need for mitigation of greenhouse gases including from these projects that have stopped operating. There is also a wealth of expertise and infrastructure that could be built on, reformed and adapted for the SDM. Much more ambition and environmental integrity are essential to the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s goals and specifically for further work on Article 6. Article 6 should help to increase climate action and its impact, not reduce (domestic) action. It’s already getting warmer and we can’t afford to repeat the same mistakes after 2020.



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