Beyond pure offsetting: Assessing options to generate Net-Mitigation-Effects in carbon market mechanisms

energypolicyCarsten Warnecke, Sina Wartmann, Niklas Höhne, Kornelis Blok
May 2014

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The current project-based carbon market mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the Joint Implementation (JI) do not have a direct impact on global greenhouse gas emission levels, because they only replace or offset emissions. Nor do they contribute to host country׳s national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Contributions to net emission reductions in host countries is likely to become mandatory in new mechanisms under development such as in the framework for various approaches, a new market-based mechanism and even in a reformed JI. This research analysed the question if approaches for carbon market-based mechanisms exist that allow the generation of net emission reductions in host countries while keeping project initiation attractive. We present a criteria-based assessment method and apply it for four generic options in existing mechanisms and derive implications for future mechanism frameworks. We identified the application of “discounts” on the amount of avoided emissions for the issuance of carbon credits and “standardisation below business as usual” as most promising options over “limiting the crediting period” and “over-conservativeness”. We propose to apply these options differentiated over project types based on internal rate of return to ensure cost-efficiency and attractiveness.