‘Clean’ technology baselines must measure multiple emissions

If the Kyoto mechanisms for transferring clean technology from the North to the South are to succeed an accurate method of measuring each project's sub-sector greenhouse gas emissions must be used, says the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

UNIDO warns that any failure to create “clear ground rules” for clean technology baselines will “inhibit private sector participation in [Kyoto’s] Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation” schemes.

The warnings are contained within a UNIDO report entitled Guidelines to Support Decision-making on Baseline-setting and Additionality Assessment for Industrial Projects. The report presents UNIDO’s preferred method of establishing projects’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emission baselines; a methodology referred to as ‘sub-sector disaggregation’.

“The sub-system disaggregation approach is based on the disaggregation of the project into the sub-systems in which GHG emissions occur. Such an approach allows the necessary rigour to ensure a full accounting of the GHG impacts of the proposed, especially when impacts are multiple,” argues UNIDO. “A sub-system disaggregation approach also allows a clearer definition to the technical and financial parameters of each sub-system.”

UNIDO believes that a universal baseline assessment system that measures GHG emissions for each sector within a project will reduce the chances that projects will fail to generate “certifiable reductions”.

The need to verify baselines is also emphasised in the report. “In the current literature on baselines, there has been a tendency to consider baselines and additionality analysis in isolation from the monitoring and verification systems. It would be more appropriate, particularly for capacity building purposes, to establish the link between the two procedures and to show that baseline determination is in fact an integral element of the monitoring and verification model,” says UNIDO.

UNIDO’s model pre-supposes a project-by-project baseline analysis. Other bodies have suggested that project approval would be easier and faster if baselines for Kyoto mechanisms were set on an industry-wide basis (see related story).

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