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SEI working paper

Addressing the risk of double counting emission reductions under the UNFCCC (WP)

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.

Anja Kollmuss, Michael Lazarus, Lambert Schneider / Published on 28 April 2014

Schneider, L., A. Kollmuss and M. Lazarus (2014). Addressing the risk of double counting emission reductions under the UNFCCC (WP). SEI Working Paper No. 2014-02.

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.

Download the paper (PDF, 2.3MB)

Note: This paper is the third in a series of three papers on the interactions between international carbon markets and mitigation pledges. Click on the links at right to see the others.

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.

SEI authors

Profile picture of Anja Kollmuss
Anja Kollmuss

SEI Affiliated Researcher


Michael Lazarus
Michael Lazarus

Senior Scientist


Lambert Schneider

Topics and subtopics
Climate : Mitigation
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