The clean development mechanism: a review of the first international offset program

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), established under the Kyoto Protocol, is the primary international offset program in existence today. It generates offsets through investments in GHG reduction, avoidance, and sequestration projects in developing countries. These offset credits, called Certified Emission Reduction credits (CERs), represent a reduction in one metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted to the atmosphere. This report examines the role of the Clean Development Mechanism as a cost-effective tool in mitigating emissions and reviews the lessons learned, the institutional changes that have been made, and the ongoing challenges it faces.