Photo: Mexico City Pollution
A small restaurant chain in Mexico City is leading the way to cleaner air with help from a new United Nations scheme.
Adapting its clean development mechanism (CDM), which allowed rich countries to meet emissions standards by funding clean energy projects for those in less developed countries, the UN is starting a “pilot scheme” with the Mexico City chain to explore cutting carbon emissions by way of smaller changes for smaller businesses, that were not addressed in the original drafting of the CDM.
Things like energy efficient light bulbs, environmentally friendly stoves and even devices for refrigerators to make them more efficient, are being installed in the chain.
Ramp Carbon, a firm out of Australia has designed a device for refrigerators that they are not charging the restaurant for – initially anyway. The restaurant would be put on a payment plan where it repays the firm using the money saved from what it is saved in electricity.
“This means that if we can’t demonstrate to them that the product has reduced their electricity bill, they don’t have to pay us anything,” said Ramp Carbon’s founder Phil Cohn. Once proven effective, the payment plans can be from one to two years depending on each ‘fridge system set-up.
Cohn added “By removing the up-front cost, and structuring repayments out of demonstrated energy savings, we are trying to remove two significant barriers preventing access to energy efficiency technology in developing countries.” The cost of their technology to their customers can remain low due to the trading of carbon credits. “The potential scale across Mexico and other developing countries is significant,” said Cohn.
Despite critics, the UN believes this approach has great potential, especially in underdeveloped countries, and allows for larger companies and now smaller ones to make a dent in the problem of pollution.
“We hope to be able to attract mainstream, commercial investors into an area,” said Cohn, “that has previously faced a number of barriers.”