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Assessing the additionality of CDM projects: practical experiences and lessons learned

Lambert Schneider

Climate Policy, 2009, vol. 9, issue 3, 242-254

Abstract: The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol allows industrialized countries to use credits from greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement projects in developing countries. A key requirement of the CDM is that the emission reductions be real, measurable and additional. This article evaluates how the additionality of CDM projects has been assessed in practice. The analysis is mainly based on a systematic evaluation of 93 registered CDM projects and comes to the conclusion that the current tools for demonstrating additionality are in need of substantial improvement. In particular, the application of the barrier analysis is highly subjective and difficult to validate in an objective and transparent manner. Key assumptions regarding additionality are often not substantiated with credible, documented evidence. In a considerable number of cases it is questionable whether the emission reductions are actually additional. Based on these findings, practical recommendations for improving the assessment of additionality are provided.

Date: 2009
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