On the day when the crucial ratification for the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol on 16 February 2005 has arrived, the first project of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been registered. The project will reduce emissions of methane from a landfill in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The registration of this project starts a new phase of the implementation of the CDM.
This central feature for global collaboration on climate change in the Kyoto Protocol has now come alive.
The CDM is an innovative mechanism that mobilizes private and public resources for mitigating climate change and, at the same time, promoting sustainable development.
The project is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a landfill site by capturing methane to use it for generating electricity and will have direct health and environmental benefits for the local community of Nova Iguaçu.
It is expected to reduce about 31,000 tons of methane per year which, in terms of global warming potential, is equivalent to a reduction of 670,000 tons of CO2.
This project holds a large potential as a model for similar projects in other parts of Brazil and the whole world.
The CDM was established under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol as a way of promoting sustainable development while minimizing the costs of limiting greenhouse gas emissions:
In return for investing in a CDM sustainable development project, companies will earn “certified emission reductions” that developed countries may use to meet their Kyoto commitments.
It is supervised by an Executive Board which is responsible to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.
In order to qualify, a CDM project must deliver multiple benefits: credits for reducing GHG emissions to the investors and sustainable development to the developing country which hosts the project and contributes to stabilizing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere below dangerous levels.
A successful CDM energy project can, for example, earn certified emission reductions (CERs) during a minimum of seven and a maximum of 21 years.
By using CERs, industrialized countries and companies can comply with their Kyoto and/or national targets at costs below those commonly encountered for domestic projects.
By being mutually beneficial, the CDM can break new ground in North-South collaboration for the global commons.
The project involves S.A. Paulista, EcoSecurities and the World Bank Netherlands Clean Development Facility (WB NCDF).
It was validated by ‘DNV Certification UK’, one of the companies accredited by the CDM Executive Board.
Information on the pipeline of projects pursuing registration under the CDM can be found on the UNFCCC CDM web site.
The US Absence
The 90-day countdown to the Kyoto Protocol’s entry into force was triggered today by the receipt of the Russian Federation’s instrument of ratification by the United Nations Secretary-General.
The Protocol will become legally binding on its 128 Parties on 16 February 2005.
“A period of uncertainty has closed. Climate change is ready to take its place again at the top of the global agenda,” said Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat, which services the UN Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.
“Next month’s ministerial conference in Buenos Aires will provide the next major opportunity for governments, businesses and civil society to promote the innovative new policies and technologies that will create the climate-friendly economy of the future,” she said.
The Protocol’s entry into force means that from 16 February 2005:
1) Thirty industrialized countries will be legally bound to meet quantitative targets for reducing or limiting their greenhouse gas emissions.
2) The international carbon trading market will become a legal and practical reality. The Protocol’s “emissions trading” regime enables industrialized countries to buy and sell emissions credits amongst themselves; this market-based approach will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of emissions cuts.
3) The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) will move from an early implementation phase to full operations. The CDM will encourage investments in developing-country projects that limit emissions while promoting sustainable development.
4) The Protocol’s Adaptation Fund, established in 2001, will start preparing itself for assisting developing countries to cope with the negative effects of climate change.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, industrialized countries are to reduce their combined emissions of six major greenhouse gases during the five-year period 2008-2012 to below 1990 levels.
The European Union, for example, is to cut its combined emissions by eight percent, while Japan should reduce emissions by six percent. For many countries, achieving the Kyoto targets will be a major challenge that will require new policies and new approaches.
Only four industrialized countries have not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol: they are Australia, Liechtenstein, Monaco and the United States.
Australia and the United States have stated that they do not plan to do so; together they account for over one third of the greenhouse gases emitted by the industrialized world.
Developing countries, including Brazil, China, India and Indonesia, are also Parties to the Protocol but do not have emission reduction targets. Many developing countries have already demonstrated success in addressing climate change.
‘Reducing the risks of global warming will require the active engagement of the entire international community. I urge the US and other major emitters without Kyoto targets to do their part by accelerating their national efforts to address climate change,’ said Ms. Waller-Hunter.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the most up-to-date scientific research suggests that humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will raise global average temperatures by 1.4 ”“ 5.8°C by the end of the century.
They will also affect weather patterns, water resources, the cycling of the seasons, ecosystems and exterme climate events.
Scientists have already detected many early signals of global warming, including the shrinking of mountain glaciers and Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice, reduced ice cover on lakes and rivers, longer summer growing seasons, changes in the arrival and departure dates of migratory birds, the spread of many insects and plants towards the poles, and much more.
The 10th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention will be held at the ‘La Rural’ exhibition center in Buenos Aires from 6 to 17 December 2004.