The Clean Development Mechanism in the Philippines
Costly, Dirty, Money-making Schemes

by Herbert Docena, Focus on the Global South

first published 25 June 2010

An evaluation of Clean Development Mechanism projects in the Philippines suggests that most projects will further exacerbate climate change, compromise sustainable development, and enrich large conglomerates expanding their extractive and fossil fuel-intensive activities.

Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries can buy “credits” from projects that supposedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries instead of cutting their own emissions. In so doing, the scheme claims to mitigate climate change while promoting sustainable development at the same time. 

This evaluation of CDM projects in the Philippines suggests that the scheme is in fact undermining its own purported aims. Most of the “credits” being generated will go to projects that further exacerbate climate change and compromise sustainable development. They will enrich large conglomerates that are expanding extractive and fossil fuel-intensive activities as they pursue objectives that could be achieved through more effective government regulation and community action.

Instead of enabling governments and communities to embark on a just transition away from extracting and burning fossil fuels, the CDM is rewarding government ineptitude and supporting the very actors that contribute to climate change -- all the while allowing developed countries to continue avoiding the reductions they must make to mitigate climate change.

This report is available in PDF format from The Corner House upon request. See the website of the publisher, Focus on the Global South, for related articles on climate justice.