The Copenhagen Climate conference in 2009 established that between the years of 1990 and 2008, Honduras was the third worst affected country in the world by global climate change. The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) implies that this was due to augmented incidences of major hurricanes, torrential rains and flooding, heat waves, droughts, loss of soil productivity and rising sea levels, plus increased intensity of the El Niño and La Niña phenomena. Yet in 2005, Honduras proudly proclaimed itself to be the first country in the world to voluntarily comply with the Kyoto Protocol’s guidelines because their emissions of greenhouse gases were 5 per cent lower than 1990 levels.
In 2005 the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) issued the first ever certified emission reductions (CERs). These were awarded for two hydroelectric projects in Honduras. La Esperanza Hydroelectric Project is expected initially to generate 37,000 CERs annually and is registered in partnership with Italy, while the Rio Blanco Small Hydroelectric Project, in which Finland has a stake, produces 17,800 CERs per year.
La Esperanza is a small containment and runoff facility located in the department of Intibucá. The project was developed by a Honduran company Consorcio de Inversiones SA de CV (CISA) and commercial operation began in 2006. CISA claim to have assisted the community by:
- providing regulated electrical power to La Esperanza and the surrounding communities;
- employing 120 Hondurans during construction and still employing over 70 local people;
- bringing electricity to the community of San Fernando through a US$13,000 donation of electrical supplies;
- repairing the main road into Santa Anita; and
- planting 25,000 trees per year since 2002.
The carbon offsets yielded by La Esperanza have been sold to the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), one of the five institutions that comprise the World Bank Group. The Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF), also a stem of the World Bank, strongly supports La Esperanza as it promotes a co-benefits approach to climate change by linking carbon finance to tangible poverty reduction and sustainable development outcomes.
 Visión de País 2010-2038 (August 2010) ‘Honduras, el primer país en cumplir de forma voluntaria con el Protocolo de Kioto’, Honduran government news sheet, August 2010.
 UNFCCC (20 October 2005) ‘First emission credits issued under the Kyoto Protocol’, http://cdm.unfccc.int/CDMNews/issues/issues/I_WJHSF1N67JGAORWII2BKVAI8O74B5A/viewnewsitem.html (accessed 11 January 2011).
 www.laesperanza-hydro.com/carbon.htm (accessed 11 January 2011).
 Aditi Sen (June 2009) ‘The Community Development Carbon Fund (CDCF): Assessment of Community Benefits and Sustainable Development’, World Bank, siteresources.worldbank.org/…/CDCF_paper_final_with_cover.pdf