Additionality under Article 6 - a new beginning or ghosts of the past?

Additionality under Article 6 - a new beginning or ghosts of the past?

Addionality is back on the discussion agenda and as before with the CDM, any discussion on additionality invites strong opinions. As Parties to the Paris Agreement are developing the future cooperative mechanism under Article 6.4, it is clear that the principle of additionality is one of its key requirements. The Paris Decision explicitly calls for “reductions in emissions that are additional to any that would otherwise occur”. But it is not clear whether additionality will be operationalized in the same way as under the CDM.

There are reasons for rethinking the project specific additionality test that has dominated the CDM for the new mechanism. Most of all, despite the global community’s best effort, the additionality test has never succeeded in shielding the CDM from damning criticism. A case in point is the recent study by Öko-Institut and others on “How additional is the Clean Development Mechanism?” The German Ministry for Environment (“BMUB”) issued an expert opinion on the same, to which Climate Focus was asked to contribute.

While it is clear that the CDM will not continue under the Paris Agreement, many find that certain CDM activities, including the programmes of small-scale activities, deserve a place under the Paris Agreement, or more concretely, deserve a continued source of recognition and hence financing. Defining additionality under the new mechanism of Article 6.4 will be crucial in determining whether if any or which of these programmes will get what, and how. To be continued.