Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Additionality in the Clean Development Mechanism

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, which has been in effect since February 2005. Put simply, it allows countries that are in a strong financial position to undertake emission-reducing projects in developing countries. Successful implementation of these projects can result in certified emission reduction (CER) credits, which can be counted towards the country’s own targets. Each credit is the equivalent of one tonne (1000kg) of CO2.​

CDM is important when understanding additionality because a CDM project does not automatically count as being additional. If the project takes place instead of one that would have been done in the country financing the project, only emissions over the amount that would have been reduced in the original project would be counted. ​

To give an imagined scenario, Country A funds a project in Country B which removes 30 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere, instead of a project in Country A that would have removed 25 tonnes. Therefore, this project is valid for 5 CER credits, as it has removed 5 extra tonnes of CO2 that would otherwise have remained.

To avoid giving credits for emission reductions that would have occurred anyway as a business-as-usual scenario, there are specified tools to ensure that the Project reduces emissions more than what would have occurred in the absence of the Project.

*Click on each tool to be directed to the CDM website for detailed information on the methodology or enter here CDM: Tools (unfccc.int)