In the past, we’ve seen a correlation between more economic development, more energy use, and more emissions of green house gasses. “The challenge of addressing climate change is to break the link between economic development and greenhouse gas emissions” (Uniting on Climate Change, UNFCCC 2007). The key here to curbing the impacts of climate change is sustainable development.

The Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) outlined by Fletcher and Parker in the CRS Report for Congress help to fund sustainable development projects in developing countries. Under the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries have agreed to cap their greenhouse gas emissions to levels less than that of their 1990 levels of emissions. These countries can meet their emissions standards by:

– cutting emissions domestically

-trading emissions with other developed countries

-or, through the CDM where they receive Certified Emissions Reduction credits (CERs) by investing in emission-cutting projects in developing countries

The CERs must be in addition to domestic emissions cutting. In other words, each developed countries must make efforts towards cutting emissions domestically, and cannot solely buy up carbon credits from emissions that were cut abroad.WindMills

Although the Kyoto Protocol designed the CDM to offer an alternative to help developed countries in cutting emissions, it also has a positive effect on the developing countries. The CDM gives the developing countries the funds it needs to invest in green energy that will put these countries on the “soft energy path,” as opposed to the “hard energy path that countries such as the US and those in Western Europe have found themselves in. As outlined in the Stern Report,

action taken to reduce emissions sooner in the development process rather than later will be less costly for the economy and for the environment.

Not only will sustainable developmman05_abent projects in the developing world help to achieve a higher level of environmental quality, it will also spark economic growth and lead to a higher standard of living. This includes the basics of survival that many countries lack: Such as the access to water, sturdy, energy efficient homes, and energy for the means to harvest food. Through participation of the CDMs, the funds allocated towards sustainable development could lead to poverty alleviation in the developing countries. Now, we need to get everyone on board the Kyoto Protocol to maximize the potential benefits of sustainable development… US? Hello?

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One Response to “CDM: Sustainable Development for the Developing World”

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