Assessing the Climate Governance Contribution and Future of the Clean Development Mechanism

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This article assesses the contribution of the clean development mechanism (cdm) to climate governance. The cdm emerged as the key offset mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, but its contribution to climate governance remains contested. This article deconstructs the cdm by evaluating the mechanism’s dominant critiques and offers a synthesised analysis of its core design and operational defects. The implications of the Paris Agreement, particularly the prospect of a successor mechanism to the cdm, are evaluated, and inform this article’s vision of a reconstructed mechanism as an important component in the evolving carbon markets infrastructure. Although such a reconstructed mechanism would continue to build a base of regulatory experience in less developing countries, this article suggests that the framework emerging under the Paris Agreement should more carefully circumscribe the cdm’s future role. Finally, this article concludes by considering the potential climate governance contribution of a reconstructed CDM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-435
Number of pages43
JournalNordic Journal of International Law
Issue number4
Early online date17 Nov 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Nov 2018


  • clean development mechanism
  • Paris Agreement
  • carbon emissions trading
  • linkage
  • climate governance


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