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SEI Study on Coal Power in the CDM, Issues and Options

Authors: Michael Lazarus and Chelsea Chandler, Stockholm Environment Institute


This paper examines several issues that arise in awarding emission reduction credits to coal projects in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It identifies systematic weaknesses in the coal methodology’s (ACM0013) design and application. The authors estimate that shortcomings lead to significant over-crediting of Certified Emission Reductions and discuss why a revision of the methodology to more accurately estimate emissions reductions may not be possible because of data constraints and weak signal-to-noise ratio. The paper also examines evidence that suggests the vast majority of these projects would have proceeded in the absence of the CDM, and are thus non-additional. It considers the suitability of coal in the CDM, given the identified flaws in the methodology, and in the light of coal’s impact on climate change and its social and environmental burdens.

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