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The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows projects that reduce emissions in developing countries to earn Certified Emission Reduction (CER) credits. Each credit, which is equivalent to one ton of CO2, can be traded and used by industrialized countries who committed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

CDM promotes sustainable development and emission reduction while giving industrialized countries flexibility in meeting their emission reduction targets. The projects must qualify through a rigorous process of public registration and CER issuance designed to ensure real, measurable, and verifiable emission reductions that are additional to what would have occurred without the project. In order to be considered for registration by the CDM Executive Board, the body that oversees this process, a project must first be approved by Designated National Authorities (DNA).

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is from 2008 to 2012. There are now more than 1,000 registered projects anticipated to produce CERs amounting to more than 2.7 billion tons of CO2 equivalent. CDM is the first global environmental investment and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standard emissions offset instrument, the CERs.

The CDM project cycle involves the following:
  • Identification of the project
  • Preparation of Project Design Document (PDD)
  • Validation
  • Negotiation of project agreements
  • Construction and start-up
  • Periodic verification and certification
  • Project completion
For more information, visit http://cdm.unfccc.int/.

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