OECD/IEA Climate Change Expert Group Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected papers on climate change issues that have been prepared for the OECD/IEA Climate Change Expert Group (CCXG). The CCXG (formerly called the Annex I Expert Group) is a group of government delegates from OECD and other industrialised countries. The aim of the group is to promote dialogue and enhance understanding on technical issues in the international climate change negotiations. CCXG papers are developed in consultation with experts from a wide range of developed and developing countries, including those participating in CCXG Global Forums.

The full papers are generally available only in English.

The opinions expressed in these papers are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OECD, the IEA or their member countries, or the endorsement of any approach described therein.


Keeping Track: Options to Develop International Greenhouse Gas Unit Accounting after 2012

This paper examines environmental and institutional implications of the use of tradable GHG units under different international accounting scenarios in the post-2012 international climate change policy framework. A range of possible scenarios is presented based on analysis on various building blocks for emissions accounting. On one side continuation of a Kyoto Protocol type accounting approach is considered with allocation of centrally-administered emissions allowances for Annex I countries. On the other side, a less centralised system is presented based on emission reduction pledges by countries.

Aspects of these two scenarios are then combined to identify common elements in a middle ground scenario. The middle ground scenario presented would not use centrally-allocated emissions allowances but would retain some level of commonly-agreed accounting rules to ensure shared understanding of the content and scope of pledges, and to provide a stable platform for international use of offset units. The middle-ground scenario also envisages a role for UNFCCC bodies to set standards for new credit-based market mechanisms, and suggests that the existing International Transaction Log might be modified to track new unit types in addition to existing Kyoto Protocol units. Transparent tracking of units would help to minimize the risk of “double counting” of emissions reductions towards the emissions objective of more than one country.


Keywords: emissions accounting, market mechanisms, climate change, greenhouse gas units
JEL: Q56: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth; Q54: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Climate; Natural Disasters and Their Management; Global Warming; Q58: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environmental Economics: Government Policy; F53: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy / International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
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