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A two-track CDM: improved incentives for sustainable development and offset production

Asbjørn Torvanger, Manish K. Shrivastava, Nimisha Pandey, Silje H. Tørnblad

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been criticized in the literature for encouraging a focus on offset production (OP) at the expense of achieving or encouraging sustainable development (SD). It is argued that one explanation for this is that there is no commonly agreed definition of SD and, moreover, the priority of CDM project developers is often to produce cost-effective OP. Many of the proposals to address these drawbacks are not politically feasible. It is argued that the CDM should be split into a two-track mechanism, with one track for offset production and the other for offset production with an emphasis on sustainable development benefits. This would enable the political deadlock to be broken, allow the inclusion of SD benefits in the price mechanism itself, and allow both SD and OP objectives to be simultaneously achieved.

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