In December 1997, the Conference of the Parties to the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol established binding greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions commitments
for developed countries, referred to as Annex I countries, while leaving developing countries such as China and
India largely unaffected. In order to meet these emissions standards, Annex I countries can acquire emissions reductions
resulting from projects undertaken in other Annex I countries or from projects undertaken in developing countries. The later category of projects are facilitated through a new device called the Clean Development
Mechanism ("CDM"). The CDM is
a potential mechanism for developed countries to actively encourage the sustainable growth of developing countries
in an environmentally sound manner. Unfortunately, the CDM remains largely undefined, as the negotiators to the
Kyoto Protocol left substantive development to future meetings.
This paper explores several practical and theoretical issues surrounding the CDM. As projects initiated under the CDM would likely result in the transfer of technology from developed countries to less developed countries, the underlying necessity of technology transfers will be examined first. In the context of global warming, technology transfers appear to be an essential aspect of any viable GHG abatement program. Next, this paper will examine the legal framework for projects between developed and developing countries. It is important to note that this paper is part of an integrated project. Because of the large impact that electricity generation is likely to have on global warming, the project focuses on this aspect of human activity. However, it should be understood that technology transfer and abatement efforts can and should occur in many sectors. Additionally, the reader should use the web links provided for a fuller understanding and greater enjoyment of the subject.