July 22, 2009—The Kyoto Protocol established a system in which developed countries, and companies in those countries can reduce carbon emissions by partnering with developing countries. These partnerships give developing countries access to economic, technological, and knowledge resources, while the developed countries can earn credits to offset their own carbon emissions. The mechanisms under which these programs operate are called Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The CDM works through the carbon market, where developed countries act as buyers and developing countries as sellers in carbon reduction projects, such as reducing the carbon footprint of a factory either in the construction process or later in the building’s life cycle. Projects vary widely in size and type, depending on the local economy, buyer demand, and other factors.
The CDM and the carbon market have requirements for participation, including complex timelines and national oversight. The buyers and sellers of any carbon market project have to prove that the carbon reduction wouldn’t have happened without the project. These requirements can be onerous for countries that are new to the system.
Carbon Finance-Assist (CF-Assist) is a multi-donor trust fund for capacity building, market development, and outreach that complements the World Bank’s climate change and carbon finance work. The CF-Assist program helps public officials and business people navigate the system and participate fully in the carbon market. The program supports training events, knowledge exchange among developing countries, and peer-to-peer learning activities that provide technical assistance tailored to a country’s existing level of knowledge and expertise. CF-Assist is developing e-learning products to meet the market needs for information on carbon mitigation, with emphasis on Carbon Finance for Urban Areas. Planned courses include Cities and Climate Change, Solid Waste and Waste Water Management, Sustainable Housing, and Sustainable Transport. These courses are intended for policy makers, public officials, mayors, nongovernmental organization representatives, bankers and auditors. Courses will be hosted by regional centers of excellence (hubs) to help ensure local ownership and long-term sustainability.
In 2008-2009, the CF-Assist program trained some 3,000 professionals in 20 countries. Since 2006, CF-Assist has worked in more than 60 countries and has helped identify over 300 carbon finance projects.
Some 3,000 people and more than 250 exhibitors took part in Carbon Expo 2009 in Barcelona, Spain. This was the sixth annual Expo, which has become the world’s largest knowledge sharing and business development platform for carbon market stakeholders. “Cities and Climate Change” was the focal theme of Expo 2009, reflected in events on how cities can play a more prominent role in climate change mitigation. A City-Twinning and Peer-Learning Program on Carbon Finance was also launched. Carbon Expo 2010 will take place from May 26 to 28, 2010 in Cologne, Germany.