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SEI working paper

Coal Power in the CDM: Issues and Options

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.

Michael Lazarus, Chelsea Chandler / Published on 2 November 2011

Lazarus, M., and C. Chandler (2011). Coal Power in the CDM: Issues and Options. SEI Working Paper No. 2011-02.

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.

Download the paper (PDF, 1.4mb)

Download the executive summary only (PDF, 600kb)

Read a follow-up policy note issued in December 2011»

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

Topics and subtopics
Climate : Mitigation
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