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NAMAs: A Lead Strategy for Reducing Emissions in Developing Countries

CCAP’s recent submission to the UNFCCC seeks to uphold the NAMA approach

The Bali Action Plan calls for consideration of “Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions” by developing country Parties “In the context of sustainable development” and “supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner” (both actions and support). And as elaborated by the Cancun Agreements, NAMAs present an important opportunity to support developing countries to achieve “a deviation in emissions relative to ‘business as usual’ emissions in 2020,” resulting in emissions reductions that are additional to those committed to by developed countries.

NAMAs, which are envisioned to be implemented on a larger scale than Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects or programs of activity, can take the form of regulations, standards, programs, policies or financial incentives. Further, unlike CDM credits and other types of offset mechanisms that are sold to meet developed country obligations, NAMAs will help developing countries take advantage of the low-cost mitigation actions available in their countries to meet the pledges they made in the Copenhagen Accord and Cancun Agreements. Well crafted NAMAs will also create important new investment opportunities in developing countries for the private sector. However, at the international policy level, many aspects around the development, implementation and support of NAMAs are still undefined. Further, other new pathways for encouraging emissions reductions in developing countries (e.g., New Market Mechanisms) are also being developed.

CCAP has a major initiative (the Mitigation Action Implementation Network) to support development of NAMAs on the ground in developing countries. In addition, CCAP is working to shape the international negotiations to ensure the NAMA concept is upheld. In particular, attention must be paid to the potential interactions between NAMAs, New Market Mechanisms (NMMs) and other types of offsets. If the international framework blurs the distinction between supported NAMAs and offsets, there is the potential to damage the supported NAMA concept, while at the same time the offsets generated by the NMM and sold to developed countries would no longer be additional. CCAP recently provided our views to the UNFCCC on these points, and will work with negotiators at the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in Bonn and the COP18 in Qatar to ensure a clear “bright line” distinction is made between these approaches. A second priority will be to encourage specific commitments by developed countries to provide financial, technological and capacity support for NAMAs.

Going forward, as CDM offsets are increasingly not being accepted in key compliance markets such as the EU ETS, and with allowance prices in the largest compliance market (the EU ETS) below 10 Euros per ton of carbon reduced, the incentive to invest in CDM offsets has greatly diminished. NAMAs, if well funded, provide a new mechanism to achieve emissions reductions in developing countries and to support larger scale and sustained investments consistent with sustainable development.

CCAP will continue to discuss these concepts and their impacts internationally in an upcoming blog series.

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