Future of project based mechanisms in the waste management sector with a special view on the prospective American offset market

Pacher, Christian; Nickel, Felix; Geres, Dr. Roland
February 2010
Journal of Solid Waste Technology & Management;Feb2010, Vol. 36 Issue 1, p803
Academic Journal
Climate protection projects are gaining importance in the waste management sector. Especially landfill gas projects are widely realised. These projects produce a lot of certificates in a costefficient way by reducing accruing methane emissions. Other project types are currently under development. Some of those - under general conditions of CDM and JI - cannot be realized due to high investment costs. The further development of project based mechanisms depends primarily on the results of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December 2009. Because of the missing agreement on further emission caps the design of an international treaty that follows the Kyoto protocol and the arrangement of the different project based mechanisms remains uncertain. Apart from the international arena, today the development of an American emissions trading scheme and the emerging voluntary offset market have changed the situation.. The recently passed House climate bill (former Waxman-Markey) is currently discussed in US Senate. The Senate bill offers different facilities to realise national and international offset projects in the waste management sector. It is currently not to be foreseen which certificates of the different emissions trading schemes will be fungible for compliance in other schemes also. A global fungibility of certificates could push the realisation of climate protection projects, as certificates could be produced world wide and used for domestic compliance. The waste sector offers a lot of state of the art technologies which may contribute to GHG mitigation. Apart from energetic landfill methane utilization technology waste treatment technologies like waste to energy, mechanical biological waste treatment or composting offer considerable CO2 reduction potentials. Many studies in Germany and Europe have indicated these potentials. The EU ETS, CDM and JI have not offered framework conditions favourable to the implementation of alternative waste treatment technologies. Still these project types could be of interest to the global voluntary and the American offset markets. Besides greenhouse gas issues, topics like the expenditure of area, the minimization of waste volume and amount, the reuse and recycling of waste fractions and the preparation of residues should be taken into account. The optimisation of waste management and the implementation of integrated system approaches where further local conditions have to be taken into account from a life cycle perspective could lead to substantial overall GHG reductions globally.


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