Clean Development Projects Booming Around World

The number of Clean Development Mechanism projects -- known as CDM projects -- around the world boomed in 2008, jumping from 60 in 2004 to several thousand.

The brand-new figures come from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)'s year-end snapshot of CDM projects -- emissions-saving initiatives that industrialized countries can help finance in developing countries.

According to the report, around 4,200 CDM projects are now registered or in the pipeline -- primarily hydro, wind, and other "traditional" renewables.

Brazil, China, India, and Mexico continue to access the lion's share of the projects, with a total of 3,218 including 1,557 in China and 1,135 in India.

But regions and countries that were once on the periphery of CDM schemes are beginning to access their environmental, economic, and development benefits, many for the first time: if the numbers for China and India are excluded, the Asia and Pacific region now has close to 550 projects, up from five in 2004. And without including Brazil and Mexico, CDM projects in Latin America and the Caribbean stand at nearly 290 -- up from 19 four years ago.

Leading are medium and small-scale hydroelectric projects, followed by biomass energy, wind power, and electricity from industrial waste heat.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "The CDM and the carbon markets as a whole are one of the great success stories of international cooperative action on climate change. The challenge now is to streamline it and overcome some of the hurdles that are keeping back projects in areas such as the building sector and forestry."

"By 2012 we estimate that over 8,000 CDM projects may be up and running or in the pipeline generating financial flows from North to South of well over $30 billion," he added.

The calculation is based on the CDM generating an estimated 1.6 billion Certified Emission Reduction" carbon credits worth $20 each.

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