The finance of climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries represents a key challenge in the negotiations on a post-2012 international climate agreement. Finance mechanisms are important because stabilizing the climate will require significant emissions reductions in both the developed and the developing worlds, and therefore large-scale investments in energy infrastructure. The current state of climate finance has been criticized for its insufficient scale, relatively low share of private-sector investment, and insufficient institutional framework. This policy brief presents options for improving and expanding climate finance.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)—established by the Kyoto Protocol of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—is an emissions offset program that allows industrialized countries to receive credits for funding emissions reduction projects in developing countries. The program is intended to provide a cost-effective way for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time supporting sustainable development in developing countries. However, the CDM has been criticized for its lengthy and expensive project approval procedures, its exclusion of many categories of potentially important mitigation activities, and its methodologies for calculating whether projects actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In response to these problems, this Issue Brief presents a variety of options for reforming the CDM.