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The Clean Development Mechanism as Ethical Development?: Reconciling Emissions Trading and Local Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Emily Boyd, Michael Goodman

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-854
Number of pages19
JournalJournal Of International Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2011

King's Authors


This paper examines and critically evaluates the ethics of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in its architecture, processes and outcomes and its potential to allocate resources to the poor as ‘ethical development’. Two specific examples of CDM projects are used to explore some of the quandaries that define, frame and govern the operating procedure for the CDM in its efforts to bring climate-based mitigation entitlements to the poor. The paper, in particular, critically and significantly analyses the normative and social complications of the CDM and concludes with three key areas in need of further critical evaluation in efforts to move debates forward in relationship to climate change governance, their effects and the moral/ethical reasoning that is embedded in market-based approaches to climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation. Overall, the paper, in new and significant ways, works to begin to re-introduce concerns over the ethics and governance of development through climate change mitigation projects through local and on the ground practices of these development projects and their rationale for governance.

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