This article presents an analytical framework for analyzing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in terms of their contribution to employment generation, equal distribution of CDM returns, and improvement of local air quality. It assesses 16 officially registered CDM projects with regard to whether they fulfill the two objectives required by the Kyoto Protocol: greenhouse gas emission reductions and contribution to sustainable development in the host country. While a large part (72%) of the total portfolio’s expected Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) are likely to represent real and measurable emission reductions, less than 1% are likely to contribute significantly to sustainable development in the host country. According to our analysis, there are currently no UNFCCC registered CDM projects that are likely to fulfill the Kyoto Protocol’s twofold objective of simultaneously delivering greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction and contributing to sustainable development.

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