Climate Change 2001:
Working Group III: Mitigation
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1.3.3 How Has Global Climate Policy Treated Equity?

Indeed, some elements of the equity agenda–primarily at the international level–have been incorporated into the emerging global climate policy regime. In particular:

While the details of the CDM are still to be worked out, in broad terms it allows entities in Annex I countries to fulfil their mitigation obligations through co-operative investment in non-Annex I countries, presumably at a lower cost. It has been hailed by some analysts as an ingenious device to reconcile the goals of GHG abatement and sustainable development (see Goldemberg, 1998b; Haites and Aslam, 2000). On the other hand, it has also generated a degree of criticism. Critics fear that:

Going beyond the current options, such as CDM, and to a longer time horizon raises the need to integrate mitigation goals within the broader (sustainable) development agendas of developing countries (Najam, 2000). An emerging literature has begun to explore this redefined problem (see Munasinghe, 2000). Some issues that are relevant to this discussion include:

Some scholars propose remedies to reconcile these longer-term concerns with the more immediate goals of the existing agenda. The simplest is a proposal to restrict all co-operative measures–and thus all early and voluntary action in non-Annex I countries–to “non-carbon” projects (Agarwal and Narain, 1999). While this would exclude some legitimate mitigation options from the purview, it could channel research and entrepreneurial resources into a new market, bring down unit costs, create and strengthen technical and managerial capacities, and thus enable both developed and developing countries to engineer a transition to a carbon-free future. Renewable energy projects have been implemented at smaller scales, which make them appropriate for poor rural communities. Other proposals similarly address the potential co-benefits of the protection of primary forests (see Kremen et al., 2000).

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