Chinese wind farm the world?s 3000th CDM climate change project

A wind farm in China, is to become the 3,000th project registered under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – a UN mechanism to deliver carbon emission reductions in a way that contributes to sustainable development – a United Nations agency said Thursday.

According to a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) press release, the 41 wind turbines located in Inner Mongolia, will produce up to 49.5 MW of electricity and are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 101,000 tonnes a year.

“The electricity produced with wind energy will be fed into the power grid and displace electricity that otherwise would have been generated through the burning of high-carbon fossil fuel,” the press release said.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said CDMs are still evolving since their inception in 2005. “From the original concept to now, it has been a success way beyond the initial expectations, not only in the number of projects but also in its ability to attract private sector investment into bettering livelihoods and environments of people in the developing world,” Figueres said.

She said that governments at last December’s UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun agreed tools such as the CDM have a key role to play in climate action.

The total picture is far more complex. Until now, the CDM promoted mostly industrial emission reduction projects, often costing less than the sum they receive through the CDM, and whose environmental impact is questionable. It is only recently, that the CDM has been successful in promoting more wind, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

And while the CDM has, been a successful way to kick start renewable energy in developing countries, less positive is the amount of CDM allowed to count as part of the emissions reductions of industrialised countries – so that of the 20% emissions reductions the EU has agreed to make by 2020, only 8% need to be done in Europe and the rest can be done elsewhere through the CDM. Europe is in effect paying China to develop a renewable energy industry to rival Europe’s in order to allow European heavy industry not to make big CO2 reductions.

By Chris Rose,