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Governing clean development in least developed countries: do CDM rules promote renewable energy in Ethiopia?

Climate policy is becoming increasingly important for the sustainable development of least developed countries (LCDs), for instance by supporting access to renewable energy. In order to better adapt the clean development mechanism (CDM) and future climate policy instruments to the circumstances of low-income societies, it is important to understand how the CDM’s institutional dimensions impact governance processes in host countries. This paper presents a case study on how CDM rules for renewable energy generation impact climate and energy governance in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has put forward an ambitious vision for a ‘climate-resilient green economy’, even if no CDM project contributes to developing the country’s renewable energy potential. The study draws on a comprehensive analysis of academic and grey literature, content analysis of key documents and a series of semi-structured expert interviews conducted in Ethiopia, Kenya and on the side of UNFCCC meetings between 2009 and 2011.