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SEI working paper

International transfers under Article 6 in the context of diverse ambition of NDCs

This study assesses the environmental integrity risks of international carbon markets under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and discusses possible international rules to address them.

Anja Kollmuss, Lambert Schneider, Derik Broekhoff / Published on 7 November 2017
Download  PDF of the working paper / PDF / 2 MB

La Hoz Theuer, S., Schneider, L., Broekhoff, D., Kollmuss, A. (2017). International transfers under Article 6 in the context of diverse ambition of NDCs.

A considerable risk is that several countries have mitigation targets that correspond to higher levels of emissions than business-as-usual (BAU) projections. The amount of “hot air” contained in current NDC targets is estimated to be similar in magnitude as the total mitigation pledged by countries with NDC targets that are more stringent than BAU. If such hot air can be transferred to other countries, it could increase aggregated GHG emissions and create a perverse incentive for countries to set future NDC targets at less ambitious levels.

In order to address these risks, international transfers could be subject to quantitative limits. We propose a typology for such limits, explore key design options, and roadtest them in the context of 17 countries. Our analysis indicates that limits on international transfers, if designed appropriately, could prevent most of the hot air contained in current NDC targets from being transferred.

The study also briefly explores approaches that aim to ensure unit quality to address the hot air risk, including international reporting and review, international guidance on mechanism design and implementation, and eligibility criteria.

Download the working paper (PDF:2MB)



PDF of the working paper / PDF / 2 MB

SEI authors

Profile picture of Anja Kollmuss
Anja Kollmuss

SEI Affiliated Researcher


Lambert Schneider

Derik Broekhoff

Senior Scientist


Topics and subtopics
Climate : Climate policy, Mitigation
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