January 2010 - The Kyoto Protocol's flexible mechanisms give rise to a range of research-related issues, both in terms of their practical use and of the structure of the climate change regime beyond 2012. Three research projects are currently under way.
The aim is to aid methodology development in sectors which are not adequately covered by the carbon markets but harbour great carbon reduction potential.
The reasoning behind the project is that the market has largely been dominated by projects on flaring of landfill gas and destruction of halogenated hydrocarbons. In contrast, there are few methodologies available for use in energy efficiency and transport-related activities. With small and medium-sized project types in particular, methodology development frequently acts as a barrier to buyers of carbon credits and to investors in carbon reduction projects. In some sectors, project developers lack the necessary financial and technological capacity.
As part of the project, practical requirements for methodology use in project implementation will be developed along with monitoring approaches which can be replicated in the respective host country.
Landfill gas projects are mostly additional and are made economically attractive by the CDM. However, in many cases the emission reductions achieved fall far short of expectations. For the future, the main task will be for independent auditors to come up with more careful forecasts during the validation phase. From a technical standpoint, registered projects have so far been dominated by capture and flaring of landfill gas without the gas being used in energy production. Projects involving composting and aerobic treatment of waste have been the exception rather than the rule. The research project is designed to prepare advanced waste management technologies for use in the CDM, as in the use of landfill gas for energy production. The aim is to avoid businesses having to expend intensive effort in getting to grips with the complexities of the CDM mechanism. The waste management conditions in many host countries and the need for advice in this area will also be addressed by the project. In many host countries, complicated waste management structures and financing-related risk hinder sustainable, economically viable solutions.
The Further Development of the Project-Based Mechanisms in a Post-2012 Regime research project was launched in November 2008. Commissioned by the German Environment Ministry, the Wuppertal Institute studied best practice in relation to sustainability in generic projects and in projects from the Gold Standard registration process. It also analysed the approval procedures used by national DNAs.
The project was designed in response to ongoing criticism regarding the lack of additionality and sustainability in the CDM and the efforts at EU and international level to develop mechanisms within the CDM project cycle which will enhance the instrument's quality. A key aim of this research project was to assess whether the requirements of the Gold Standard are practicable, i.e. whether they actually result in better-quality projects. It is hoped that the research findings can be used to identify which of the tried and tested CDM mechanisms can be further enhanced to improve their quality.
This research project has been completed and the final report is available online in PDF format.