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The political economy of carbon markets: The CDM and other stories


  • Peter Newell


Despite ongoing faith in their ability to deliver meaningful reductions in GHG emissions as the Durban climate summit approaches in December 2011 and as the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 looms large, carbon markets have been adversely affected by low prices that are failing to drive necessary investment in low-carbon technology and a series of scandals about their integrity. Some Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects have nevertheless delivered reductions in GHG emissions and sustainable development benefits. However, these benefits are too few, and strong incentives still remain in place to go for 'low-hanging fruit' opportunities that bring few additional environmental and developmental gains. Although governance reforms have a part to play in addressing these issues, these are not teething problems that can be easily weeded out with further institutional learning and innovation. They touch on the deeper politics of carbon markets and the role politics play in responses to climate change that have to be addressed.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Newell, 2012. "The political economy of carbon markets: The CDM and other stories," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 135-139, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:12:y:2012:i:1:p:135-139
    DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2012.640785

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Flues, Florens & Michaelowa, Axel & Michaelowa, Katharina, 2008. "UN approval of greenhouse gas emission reduction projects in developing countries: The political economy of the CDM Executive Board," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 12, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Trotter, Ian Michael & da Cunha, Dênis Antônio & Féres, José Gustavo, 2015. "The relationships between CDM project characteristics and CER market prices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 158-167.
    2. Purdon, Mark, 2015. "Opening the Black Box of Carbon Finance “Additionality”: The Political Economy of Carbon Finance Effectiveness across Tanzania, Uganda, and Moldova," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 462-478.
    3. Anderson, Brilé & Bernauer, Thomas, 2016. "How much carbon offsetting and where? Implications of efficiency, effectiveness, and ethicality considerations for public opinion formation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 387-395.

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