Who's Gaining the Most from the Clean Development Mechanism. . . .Qatar!?

The Clean Development Mechanism — a market structure launched in early 2006 by the United Nations to help industrialized nations gain and trade credits from green projects created in developing nations — has been highly controversial. Many wonder if the projects are actually having positive effects in the local communities in which they are built. Well, according to a really interesting article in the Financial Times, which breaks down the amount of projects according to geography, at least one nation is getting more than its fair share of attention from the CDM program: Qatar.

If you look at the data per capita, the small state of Qatar, which only has a little over 833,000 people, has a disproportionate number of carbon credits (CERs) estimated to be generated per person by 2012. Clean energy projects generate CERs, which can then be traded on carbon markets. So in other words, Qatar is tiny, but has a very carbon-intensive economy — according to the CIA factbook “As of 2007, oil and natural gas revenues had enabled Qatar to attain the second-highest per capita income in the world.” As the Financial Times explains: “Qatar is on some measures the world’s biggest per-capita emitter of carbon dioxide – or its biggest significant one, at any rate.”

Image courtesy of Financial Times.