United Nations Clean Development Mechanism

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The United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of several "flexibility mechanisms" authorized in the December 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.[1]The CDM began its operation in December 2003. It allows developed countries to invest indirectly in emmissions of greenhouse gases in developing countries by buying tradable Certified Emission Reductions.[2] Since its inception, the CDM has generated many carbon credits.[3]

CDM projects generally operate on a profit basis. Projects must be based on an approved methodology, that is, a means of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and a means of monitoring and confirming such reductions. There are currently more than 860 registered CDM projects in 49 developing countries, and about another 2000 projects in the project registration pipeline.

The Kyoto Protocol specified legally binding commitments by most industrialized countries to reduce their collective emissions of greenshouse gases by at least 5& compared to 1990 levels by the period 2008 to 2012. With the goal of reaching these targets at the lowest possible cost for countries that committed to reductions, the Protocol created two flexibility mechanisms, emissions trading of greenhouse gases and CDM. The CDM is also intended to be an opportunity for developing countries that did not accept binding emissions reductions at Kyoto to be involved in mitigation of greenhouse gases.

The CDM was created as a successor to Joint Implementation, a bilateral agreement between two entities to complete a greenhouse gases mitigation project.

CDM Passed One Hundred Millionth Certified Emission Reduction Milestone[edit]

On Dec. 18, 2007 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced the one hundred millionth Certified Emission Reductions (CER) credit had been issued under the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2.6 billion CERs by the time the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.[4]


  1. "The Clean Development Mechanism: A Primer". Weathervane.
  2. Agricultural Engineering in Support of the Kyoto Protocol. United Nations Economic and Social Commission For Asia and The Pacific.
  3. The Clean Development Mechanism: A User's Guide. United Nations Development Programme.
  4. Press Release. UNFCCC.