First Clean Development Mechanism project registered

In the same week that the UN announced 16 February as the official ratification date for the Kyoto Protocol, the first project of the Clean Development Mechanism has also been formally registered.

The project is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a landfill site by capturing methane to use for generating electricity.

It should have direct health and environmental benefits for the local community of Nova Igacu, and is expected to reduce about 31,000 tonnes of methane per year - the equivalent of 670,000 tonnes of CO2.

The CDM is one of the 'flexible mechanisms' in the Kyoto Protocol along with emissions trading and Joint Implementation. It is designed to mobilise private and public resources for mitigating climate change while at the same time promoting sustainable development.

Companies can earn "certified emissions reductions" in return for investing in a CDM sustainable development project, that developed countries may use to meet their Kyoto commitments. It is supervised by an Executive Board which is responsible to the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

In order to qualify, a CDM project must deliver multiple benefits:

  • credits for reducing GHG emissions to the investors;
  • sustainable development to the developing country which hosts the project; and
  • stabilises GHG concentrations in the atmosphere below dangerous levels.

    A successful CDM energy project can, for example, earn certified emission reductions during a minimum of seven and a maximum of 21 years. By using CERs, industrialised countries and companies can comply with their Kyoto and/or national targets at costs below those commonly encountered for domestic projects.

    The Brazilian "NovaGerar Landfill Gas to Energy Project" registered this week, was developed by consultants EcoSecurities and the World Bank in partnership with a local landfill operating company in Brazil. It was validated by DNV Certification UK, one of the first companies accredited by the CDM Executive Board to validate CDM Projects.

    By David Hopkins

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    Waste & resource management
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