Work in support of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – set up to drive investment to climate-friendly projects – continues despite challenges posed by COVID-19, with the CDM Executive Board set to meet virtually for the first time, from five continents, on May 11 to 13 and 27 to 29, 2020.
Given the nature of the CDM Board meetings, observers describe the event as a big challenge not only for the secretariat to organise the virtual meeting but also for the Board members in different time zones spread over 14 hours.
Top of the agenda will be consideration of the Board’s 2020 workplan, as well as its supporting its technical panels, commissioning a review of the lessons learned in operating the global mechanism now in its 20th year, a look at how international financial institutions can use the CDM to channel funds to green projects, and discussion on possible CDM programmes to incentivize construction of green buildings, besides going through number of issuances and related requests.
Set up under the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM rewards projects in developing countries for each tonne of greenhouse gas they reduce or avoid.
The incentive has led to registration of more than 8,100 projects and programmes in 111 countries, from renewable energy projects, to projects that spread use of healthy, efficient cook-stoves, to large industrial gases projects. To date, more than two billion certified emission reduction credits have been issued.
“This is an important step for the Executive Board – it’s very first virtual meeting bringing together members from around the world,” said outgoing Executive Board Chair, Piotr Dombrowicki.
“We’ve planned and trained with the secretariat to maximise the possibility of a smooth, productive meeting, despite the many time zones and technical challenges,” he added.
The 20 members of the Board serve in their personal capacity, meeting four to five times a year to oversee the quality of projects registered and Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) issued, and to consider ways to improve and evolve the CDM.
CERs are a type of emissions unit (or carbon credits) issued by the CDM Executive Board for emission reductions achieved by CDM projects and verified by a DOE (Designated Operational Entity) under the rules of the Kyoto Protocol.
An increasing number of subnational and national governments are using carbon-pricing instruments – like the CDM – as part of efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions in their jurisdictions.
Some domestic emissions trading systems, including the Colombian emissions trading system and carbon tax, the European Union Emissions Trading System, the Korean emissions trading system, the South African carbon tax and the Swiss emissions trading system, have been using CERs from CDM projects as eligible offset units that emitters in these jurisdictions can use for compliance with emission obligations.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation Council in March 2020 approved the CDM to supply Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) eligible emissions units.
There is also an increasing interest in use of CERs to supplement climate action by individuals, organisations and companies, as part of social corporate responsibility efforts. Climate Neutral Now, operated by the secretariat, has tripled its signatories since the start of 2018.
Companies, organisations, events and individuals are encouraged to measure their emissions, continually reduce all they can, and compensate for the rest by supporting climate action through purchase and cancellation of CERs.
In 2015, at the Board’s request, the secretariat launched a platform for the voluntary cancellation of CERs. The carbon offset platform was set up to provide a new source of demand for CERs and provide a user-friendly way to buy and cancel CERs.
Parts of the first segment of the virtual CDM Executive Board meeting, from May 11 to 13, will be accessible to the public via webcast, and the precise link will be provided closer to the date, disclosed the organisers.