Financing the agrarian transition? The Clean Development Mechanism and agricultural change in Latin America

Hannah Wittman, Lisa Jordan Powell, Esteve Corbera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, The Author(s) 2015. The food crisis of 2007–08 generated widespread global concerns about land consolidation and agricultural transition, with renewed attention on foreign land investments and growing global markets for meat and biofuels. As part of and alongside this process, agriculture and land-use projects registered in the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) continued to rise, representing almost a third of global projects and almost 50% of projects in Latin America. In this paper we conduct an analysis of the sustainable development claims of Latin American CDM projects, focusing particularly on their implications for land consolidation, regional food security, and agrarian justice. Our analysis suggests that in Latin America those benefiting most from the development and sale of carbon-offset projects have, to date, been large-scale corporations investing in industrial carbon projects such as large tree plantations, sugarcane, and large-scale, export-oriented livestock production. As such, we argue that the carbonization of agriculture through the CDM serves as a driver of ‘global green grabbing’ and that the scope and financialization of CDM projects in the agriculture and forestry sectors in Latin America may contribute to the maintenance of an agrarian system of ‘climate injustice’ rather than foster sustainable development across the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2031-2046
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • agriculture
  • carbon offsets
  • Clean Development Mechanism
  • land grabbing
  • land use


Dive into the research topics of 'Financing the agrarian transition? The Clean Development Mechanism and agricultural change in Latin America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this