Establishing National Authorities for the CDM - A Guide for Developing Countries

By Christiana Figueres on June 5, 2002
The global challenge of climate change is established on the international agenda. Human activity is destabilizing the global climate and livelihoods that depend on it. The accumulation of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere must be capped at a safe level. Adaptation to the changes that are already inevitable must be integrated in sustainable development programs, with special attention to the vulnerability of poor countries and poor people.

The United Nations has provided a framework for an effective and equitable global response to this challenge—the 1992 Convention—and the first building block of that response, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Yet the emission reduction targets in the Protocol, modest as they are in environmental terms, have generated economic resistance in industrialized countries and, notably, the rejection of the Protocol by the U.S.

The withdrawal of the largest emitter will undoubtedly weaken the initial impact of the Protocol. But the Protocol is more than a first set of targets. It also a method for approaching the collective task of limiting emissions, a set of mechanisms largely and paradoxically "made in the USA." The possibility of acquiring emission reductions offshore is a main feature of these mechanisms. The period ahead is one in which these mechanisms will be tested and improved. Hopefully, the parallel system that may be developed by the United States will also encourage recourse to "Kyoto-type" mechanisms by American corporations, thus contributing to the stock of experience and boosting global market demand for offshore emission reductions.

Publication details

IISD, CSDA, 2002