Un carbon trading office to open in Colombia

The Un has moved to extend the reach of its Clean Development Mechanism (Cdm) carbon trading scheme in Latin America by opening a collaboration centre in the Colombian capital Bogotá.

The office, founded in conjunction with the development bank of Latin America (Caf), is the fourth to be unveiled in the last year, following similar centres in Togo, Uganda, and Grenada, each of which are designed to increase participation in the scheme in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

There are currently 7,183 CDM carbon offset projects in 88 developing countries, of which only around 700 are in Latin and South America. Brazil plays host to 300 projects, making it by far the largest Cdm participant in the region, followed by Chile with 93, and Colombia itself with 59.

Each project generates tradeable offset credits known as Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) that industrialised nations and companies can purchase to help meet their emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.

However, over the past year the price of Cers has dropped by around 80 per cent to around €0.50, which analysts blame on a surplus of credits on the international market and a lack of ambition in national carbon targets.

The Un believes that broadening the scope of the Cdm will help spur greater levels of low-carbon investment and tackle climate change cost-effectively in those countries facing some of the most severe climate impacts.

"The Cdm has demonstrated what can be achieved when we use markets to incentivise action on climate change and development," said Unfccc executive secretary Christiana Figueres. "

The centre in Bogotá will help tap the potential for Cdm projects in Latin América and serve as a working example of the kind of inter agency cooperation necessary.

Berny Polanía

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