Around the negotiations at the ongoing Poznan conference is a flurry of side events. These are presentations and discussions by accredited members of the conference (although almost always NGOs) on issues relevant to the negotiations.
Today I attended such an event about the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Potsdam University researchers were discussing how as the CDM becomes increasingly prolific the direction of development it takes varies substantially between countries.
The presentation took, amongst others, China and India–the two countries with by far the greatest share of CDM projects and a share of around 95% of all CERs. In China, strong government control (such as the compulsory 51% government ownership of any project) creates a limited private sector for CDM. In India, by contrast, private companies and operations are encouraged by government agencies who are very much the auditors rather than the implementors.
While the findings of the Potsdam group may seem rather trivial, divergence between countries is an important issue when set against the backdrop of the intense negotiations (governmental and otherwise) about how to reform the CDM.
One reform proposal, for example, talks about the aggregation of local CDM projects in to much larger sectoral reforms that could potentially encompass more than one nation-state. Clearly, such proposals become immediately stalled in light of the Potsdam side event this afternoon.
Taking account of where we have come is not something to be dismissed in the high-level, high-profile discussions of where we are going.