Diffusion of Kyoto's clean development mechanism

Shaikh M. Rahman, Ariel Dinar, Donald F. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To date, developed countries can only tap mitigation opportunities in developing countries by investing in projects under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Yet CDM investments have so far failed to reach all of the high-potential sectors identified in IPCC reports. This raises doubts about whether the CDM will be able to generate an adequate supply of credits from the limited areas where it has proved successful. Our paper examines the current trajectory of potential mitigation entering the CDM pipeline and projects it forward under the assumption that the diffusion of the CDM will follow a path similar to other kinds of innovations. Projections are then compared to pre-CDM predictions of the mechanism's potential market size used to assess Kyoto's cost, in order to discern whether limits on the types of project entering the pipeline will also limit the eventual supply of certified emission reductions (CERs). The main finding of the paper is that the mechanism is on track to deliver an average annual flow of roughly 700 million CERs by the close of 2012 and nearly to 1100 million tons by 2020. Parameter tests suggest that currently identified CDM investments will exceed early model predictions of the potential market for CDM projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1400
Number of pages10
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Clean development mechanism
  • Climate change
  • Investment projects
  • Kyoto protocol


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