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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
10 mei 2008

Dutch Clean Development Mechanism review shows mixed results

The report Clean and Sustainable? assesses 44 so called Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in the Netherlands portfolio and concludes that half of them mention sustainable social, economic and environmental effects, apart from the reduction of greenhouse gases. The largest sustainable effects are expected from several small-scale renewable energy projects, the smallest come from expensive projects to destroy the greenhouse gas HFC-23 (hydrofluorcarbon) in China and India and fugitive gas capture projects. By contrast, these HFC-23 projects generate the highest number of certified emission reductions (CERs).

The greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of the Netherlands under the Kyoto protocol are about 200 Mt CO2 equivalents. The Netherlands has the objective to acquire half of it by buying reduction credits abroad. 67Mt are to be purchased from projects in developing countries via the CDM, one of the so-called flexible instruments introduced to help countries achieve the targets of the Kyoto protocol.

The CDM allows industrialised countries to implement or support projects that reduce emission of greenhouse gases in countries without Kyoto reduction targets, in practice developing countries, in return for CERs. A precondition is that these projects contribute to sustainable development (social, economic and ecological) in the host countries. CDM projects can thus help industrialised countries comply with their obligations and at the same time help developing countries achieve a path of sustainable development.

The report recommends taking into account the local sustainable development priorities and the subsequent technologies that match the priorities of host countries. This enables the Dutch government to optimise the contribution of CDM projects to sustainable development. Another recommendation is to geographically spread CDM projects. By doing so Africa and South-East Asia would profit more from CDM. Since CDM is a market mechanism, CDM projects tend to go to countries with a good financial and physical infrastructure and a stable governance system.

P+ webtip: Report CDM Netherlands