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Understanding the Clean Development Mechanism and its dual aims: the case of China's projects
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Ecology. (Climate Group)
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Having been running for over 10 years, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is considered an innovative and successful mitigation initiative. CDM has the dual aims of helping industrialised countries achieve compliance with their emission limitation and reduction commitments in a cost-effective way, while simultaneously assisting developing countries in sustainable development. This thesis does a comprehensive analysis of the dual aims of CDM and is intended to assist in discussions about the post-2012 regime regarding CDM.

To analyse the aim of assisting mitigation in a cost-effective way, the prices of certified emission reductions (CERs) on the international carbon market was studied and the provision of CDM was tested by comparing the amount of CERs with the mitigation commitments of the Annex I countries. It was found that CDM plays an important role in maintaining the international carbon price at a low level and that the total amount of CERs alone had already reached up to 52.70% of the entire mitigation commitments of industrialized countries by the end of 2010 and was continuing to grow before 2012.

A theoretical analysis of the impacts of CDM showed that CDM has a double mitigation effect in both developing countries and industrialised countries, without double counting at present. A quantitative evaluation of the effects of China’s CDM projects on China’s total emissions showed that the contribution of CDM projects to limiting total emissions is small due to the dominance of fossil fuels, but CDM’s role in stimulating renewable energy is significant, e.g. about 11% of hydropower and 93% of wind power was generated by CDM projects in 2010. The results provide strong evidence in support of CDM’s contribution under the current Kyoto Protocol mitigation regime.

To analyse the aim of promoting sustainable development in developing countries, popular methods such as checklist, Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) were reviewed, a CBA of co-benefits of China’s CDM projects was carried out, and the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method was applied in an experimental study. The results showed that every method has its own advantages and problems. In other words, neither the CBA of co-benefits nor the AHP method alone is able to assess sustainable development in a completely satisfactory way. Currently, a bottom-up approach through engaging local stakeholders in CDM design and approval, combining a mandatory monitoring and evaluation of co-benefits, could be more effective for safeguarding local sustainable development than any consolidated standards.

The future of the CDM is still unclear mainly due to uncertainties about the post-2012 regime. This thesis shows that there is more than sufficient reason for CDM to continue after 2012. Industrialised countries in general should make more substantial efforts to reduce their domestic emissions rather than blaming developing countries. For developing countries, learning from the CDM projects and further applying the knowledge, technology and experiences to their domestic development agenda could be more valuable than the present CER revenues. CDM can be an important starting point for developing countries to gradually make incremental greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and limitation efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology , 2011. , viii, 62 p.
Series
Trita-IM, ISSN 1402-7615 ; 2011: 28
Keyword [en]
Clean development mechanism (CDM), Climate change mitigation, Kyoto Protocol, Sustainable Development, China’s mitigation strategy, Cost benefit analysis (CBA), co-benefits, Multi-criteria analysis (MCA), Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-37462ISBN: 978-91-7501-073-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-37462DiVA: diva2:433937
Public defence
2011-09-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26 Entreplan, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
StandUp
Note
QC 20110817Available from: 2011-08-17 Created: 2011-08-11 Last updated: 2011-08-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Governance of Large-Scale Environmental Problems: the case of climate change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governance of Large-Scale Environmental Problems: the case of climate change
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Global Warming, ISSN 1758-2083, Vol. 2, no 2, 162-178 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on the management of Climate Change Mitigation (CCM), seeking a working institution capable of addressing its cross-scale and multi-level challenges. Currently, two most studied forms of institution are co-management and transnational networks, of which a common point is that they both attempt to build up cooperative networks. While cooperative networks have a general form of viability, this paper develops an Interactions Check Table (ICT) to illustrate those interactions between stakeholders in those two forms of cooperative networks. On the basis of the ICT analysis, this paper makes suggestions for improving cooperative networks as a working institution.

Keyword
CCM, climate change mitigation, co-management, transnational networks, cooperative networks
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31420 (URN)000289944200005 ()2-s2.0-84950304111 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20110518Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2011-08-17Bibliographically approved
2. Co-benefits of CDM projects and policy implications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-benefits of CDM projects and policy implications
2010 (English)In: Environmental Economics, ISSN 1998-6041, Vol. 1, no 2, 78-88 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to study the co-benefits of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects, and further to discuss the policy of its implications. It has been found that many energy-related climate change mitigation (CCM) activities, including CDM projects, are able to produce a significant amount of co-benefits, while the policy implications have been limited. Through co-benefits assessment of Chinese CDM projects, it can be concluded that: (1) there are uncertainties relating to co-benefits assessment; (2) co-benefits assessment can be only applied to energy related projects (ERPs) and not to HFC23 decomposition projects; (3) hydropower and wind power projects are the largest contributors to cobenefits. Considering average capacity, projects concerning energy switch from coal to natural gas, coal mine methane recovery and biogas recovery are also important; and (4) the distribution of co-benefits in China are uneven. Through a discussion about policy implications of co-benefits, this paper suggest that co-benefits should neither be involved into current international CCM negotiation, nor used to ensure projects’ contribution to sustainable development. However, co-benefits analysis can indicate synergies or optimised trade-offs between CCM and protecting local environment, which is valuable for decision-making in developing countries, especially for local governments.

Keyword
clean development mechanism, co-benefits, policy implications
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31415 (URN)
Note
QC 20110816Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved
3. An Analysis of Chinese Policy Instruments for Climate Change Mitigation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Analysis of Chinese Policy Instruments for Climate Change Mitigation
2010 (English)In: International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, ISSN 1756-8692, Vol. 2, no 4, 380-392 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Design/methodology/approach - First, the paper reviews Chinese energy consumption per unit of GDP (EC/GDP) in order to determine the overall effects of the combined policy instruments. Second, the different policy instruments are compared in terms of their effects. Third, the actual trends of EC/GDP in two provinces and the instruments adopted by them are analysed on the provincial level.

Findings - The decline in EC/GDP can indirectly reflect the Chinese contribution to mitigation of CO2 emissions since fossil fuels dominate Chinese energy consumption. The national EC/GDP values have shown a declining trend from 2005 to date, indicating that the policy instruments are very important to mitigate climate change as regards reducing EC/GDP. The technological improvement regulations have made the greatest contribution to date to reduce EC/GDP values. The experiences from the Beijing and Shandong province indicate that their final targets in 2010 will be most likely achieved because the different provinces are not only following the national policy instruments but have also developed quite a few new instruments to assist in reaching the these reductions.

Research limitations/implications - There are three limitations regarding Chinese policy instruments analysis. First, the paper does not go far to determine the other factors which can affect EC/GDP apart from policy instruments. Second, some data were lacking and there may be inaccuracies in the existing data that could affect the analysis results. Third, EC/GDP cannot reflect the Chinese contribution to mitigation of CO2 emissions if the composition of Chinese energy consumption changes significantly.

Originality/value - The paper addresses the importance of various policy instruments in reducing EC/GDP. The results can be referenced by Chinese policy makers on both the national and provincial level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd, 2010
Keyword
China, Climatology, Government policy, Energy management, Energy consumption
National Category
Environmental Management
Research subject
SRA - Energy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31421 (URN)10.1108/17568691011089909 (DOI)000290180900003 ()2-s2.0-84986097724 (Scopus ID)
Funder
StandUp
Note
QC 20110613Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved
4. An Analysis of China's Carbon Dioxide Mitigation Target
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Analysis of China's Carbon Dioxide Mitigation Target
2014 (English)In: Sustainable Development, ISSN 0968-0802, E-ISSN 1099-1719, Vol. 22, no 2, 113-121 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Chinese government has announced a national mitigation target towards sustainable development of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit GDP (CO2/GDP) by 40-45% by 2020 compared with the 2005 level. This paper analyses China's CO2 strategic mitigation target and suggests possible ways to reduce CO2/GDP. The mitigation target of reducing CO2 intensity in terms of GDP is ambitious and would greatly reduce CO2 emissions compared with business as usual (BAU) in China. However, it would not prevent an increase in absolute CO2 emissions and therefore a more ambitious target, e.g. a larger reduction goal for CO2/GDP, is still needed. Promoting energy structure by more ambitious economic instruments to increase the proportion of renewable energy and replace coal consumption with oil and gas, and improving energy efficiency by applied advanced technologies, are both necessary measures. Special attention should be given to improving technologies in the manufacturing sector owing to its high energy consumption and low energy use efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2014
Keyword
Carbon dioxide emissions, China, Climate change, Energy consumption, Mitigation, Sustainable development
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31416 (URN)10.1002/sd.535 (DOI)000334505000004 ()2-s2.0-84898770373 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20140523

Available from: 2011-08-12 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
5. Sustainability of CDM projects: a matter of scope and methods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sustainability of CDM projects: a matter of scope and methods
Show others...
2010 (English)In: In the 2010 Gordon Research Conference (GRS) on Industrial Ecology: July 11-16, 2010, New London, NH, USA, 2010, 1-18 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Two CDM projects were compared in terms of their impacts on SD, using the popular AHP method. Two experimental groups of post-graduate students performed the assessment and both found that the HFC23 decomposition project studied was a bigger contributor to SD than the hydropower project, although the details differed. The outcome could have been different if the assessment had been performed by real stakeholders and decision-makers instead of students. Nevertheless, the study confirmed that AHP can be a useful method for decision-making especially in a complex situation relating to SD. However, some weaknesses of the AHP method were identified. These, inter alia, included: (1) the final results depended heavily on the participants in the assessment; (2) only a limited number of alternatives can be considered; and (3) the final results are difficult to use elsewhere.

Keyword
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Sustainable Development (SD), Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-31414 (URN)
Note
QC 20110816Available from: 2011-08-16 Created: 2011-03-14 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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