Catalyzing Investment in Urban Sustainability
U.S.-Brazil Joint Initiative on
Urban Sustainability


Clean Development Mechanism (UNFCCC)

Program Overview

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as part of the Kyoto Protocol. Countries that fall under the category Non-Annex I (NA1) are eligible to create or host projects that lead to additional reductions in the emissions of CO2-equivalent beyond what would have already occurred. These reductions can be captured as tradable Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), which each represent one ton of CO2, and 2 percent of CERs are set aside for the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol. Projects have been registered under CDM since 2001 and the CDM trading system has been operational since 2006, certifying more than 1,650 projects and reducing emissions by more than 2.9 million tons for the period of 2008-2012. CDM projects are classified as large scale, small scale, and afforestation/reforestation (at both scales). By pursuing projects that generate CERs, countries, local governments, and corporations can access additional funding for projects that will decrease greenhouse gas emissions; also, developed countries who are signatories of the Kyoto Protocol can use this process toward their national emissions reductions requirements.

How to Apply this Program

CDM is currently in transition to a new regulatory system, based on Project Standard (PS), Validation and Verification Standard (VVS), and Project Cycle Procedure (PCP). However, underlying requirements for a project to access CDM are that the project can prove "additionality," meaning the project, and thus CO2-equivalent reduction, would not otherwise have happened, based on a baseline measurement for emissions and identification of an approved methodology for the capture of emissions reductions. The project must be proposed ahead of its implementation to the CDM Board as a notification and has to lay out monitoring and verification protocols. More information on how to access credits for projects and the project cycle can be found at

Contact Information
Clean Development Mechanism 

Brazil and the State of Rio de Janeiro were among the first to pioneer the development of projects for CDM financing. NovaGerar, a joint venture by the environmental finance company EcoSecurities and civil engineering firm S.A. Paulista, implemented a methane capture system in a recently closed dump and helped build a system into a newly opening municipal solid waste landfill. The project was approved by the CDM board in 2004 for its landfill gas-to-energy technology, generating CERs for the Netherlands, electricity for the facility and the neighboring Nova Iguacu municipality, and mitigating an estimated 14 million tons of CO2 over a 21-year period.