Addressing the Risk of Double Counting Emission Reductions under the UNFCCC

SEI Working Paper No. 2014-02

Author(s): Schneider, L. ; Kollmuss, A. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2014

Avoiding double counting of emission reductions is a key policy concern to Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This paper systematically assesses how double counting can occur and how it could be addressed.

The authors find that double counting can occur not only directly, but in rather indirect ways which can be challenging to identify. Addressing double counting effectively requires international coordination in three areas: accounting of units, design of mechanisms that issue units, and consistent tracking and reporting on units.

While international agreement on principles for accounting and mechanism design is crucial to preventing double counting, the governance arrangements for implementation and international oversight could vary. The paper discusses different options and makes specific recommendations for rules to address double counting up to 2020 and in a post-2020 climate regime.

Note: This paper is the third in a series on the interactions between international carbon markets and mitigation pledges. The others cover the implications of single-year pledges, and the potential for a new market mechanism to achieve a net mitigation benefit.

About SEI Working Papers:
The SEI working paper series aims to expand and accelerate the availability of our research, stimulate discussion, and elicit feedback. SEI working papers are work in progress and typically contain preliminary research, analysis, findings, and recommendations.
Many SEI working papers are drafts that will be subsequently revised for a refereed journal or book. Other papers share timely and innovative knowledge that we consider valuable and policy-relevant, but which may not be intended for later publication.

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