Local Planning for Sustainability
International climate policy and market mechanisms could help local planning processes to be more sustainable by, for example, generating incentives or conditions for changing the local political economy to make planning more inclusive and participatory. The evidence collected from different sources (such as interviews, field visits, and secondary information, such as CDM reports in the UNFCCC page) shows that CDM projects in the energy sector generated little participation and local development in the long term. They just followed the common processes already in place in the two states (such as Environmental Impact Assessment) without building more participatory, engaging planning processes. Most of the projects created only a handful of direct jobs in their operations as, once installed, large parts of the operations are automated as in the case of Ferradura in RS (just two jobs), or such as was the case in Votorantim in Bahia, where the facility was already operational. The decisions on the CDM projects have indicated a prevalence of a single bottom-line profile for decision-making (financial returns from carbon market) over the long term, next generations’ interests (Falleiro, Gastaldini, and Andrade 2015).
There is also little sign that CDM has created significant opportunities for engagement with local businesses. The direct participation of small organizations, firms, and communities in CDM projects is limited because of the high transaction costs related to all phases of the projects. The complexity of the registration process is beyond the reach of most local organizations. Nevertheless, one of the CDM projects in this research (Ferradura in Rio Grande do Sul) was led by a local entrepreneur, demonstrating the possibility for emergence of institutional arrangements that allow small local organizations to engage in CDM. Thus, a small number of consultants, mostly international or from outside the regions of the projects, dominate the services, generating few opportunities for local firms to be engaged in the projects and develop the expertise in CDM which could boost other CDM projects locally.