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Learning from CDM SD tool experience for Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement

Karen Holm Olsen, Christof Arens and Florian Mersmann

Climate Policy, 2018, vol. 18, issue 4, 383-395

Abstract: The Paris Agreement (PA) emphasizes the intrinsic relationship between climate change and sustainable development (SD) and welcomes the 2030 agenda for the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, there is a lack of assessment approaches to ensure that climate and development goals are achieved in an integrated fashion and trade-offs avoided. Article 6.4 of the PA introduces a new Sustainable Mitigation Mechanism (SMM) with the dual aim to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and foster SD. The Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has a similar objective and in 2014, the CDM SD tool was launched by the Executive Board of the CDM to highlight the SD benefits of CDM activities. This article analyses the usefulness of the CDM SD tool for stakeholders and compares the SD tool’s SD reporting requirements against other flexible mechanisms and multilateral standards to provide recommendations for improvement. A key conclusion is that the Paris Agreement’s SMM has a stronger political mandate than the CDM to measure that SD impacts are ‘real, measurable and long-term’. Recommendations for an improved CDM SD tool are a relevant starting point to develop rules, modalities, and procedures for SD assessment in Article 6.4 as well as for other cooperative mitigation approaches.POLICY RELEVANCEResearch findings are relevant for developing the rulebook of modalities and procedures for Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement, which introduces a new mechanism for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and sustainable development. Lessons learnt from the CDM SD tool and recommendations for enhanced SD assessment are discussed in context of Article 6 cooperative approaches, and make a timely contribution to inform negotiations on the rulebook agreed by the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

Date: 2018
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