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How do we ensure environmental integrity under the Paris Agreement?

How do we ensure environmental integrity under the Paris Agreement? graphic

Please click here to read the full approach paper “Ensuring Environmental Integrity under Article 6 Mechanisms”

 

What is the environmental integrity? 
Ensuring environmental integrity means that global greenhouse gas emissions do not increase as a result of transfers of mitigation outcomes (when compared to the scenario where such transfers did not take place). 

Why is it important?
Environmental integrity is a key principle for using international market mechanisms for climate objectives under the Paris Agreement. If transfers of mitigation outcomes (MOs) result in increased emissions, the use of market cannot be justified as it defeats the purpose of contributing to global climate efforts.

 

How do we ensure environmental integrity under the Paris Agreement?
Different from the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement requires "all" countries to voluntarily adopt individual targets, articulated in their nationally determined contribution (NDC). This effectively introduces a national commitment or emissions cap for the entire economy or for the sectors covered by the NDC. 

Under the Paris Agreement, countries can sell and buy MOs internationally to meet their NDCs as long as the accounting of the transfers is properly performed (i.e., avoidance of double counting on a basis of a corresponding adjustment). In this context, ensuring environmental integrity requires the assessment of two aspects:

  1. Stringency of NDC: whether the country’s emissions cap or NDC is stringent enough and its targeted GHG emissions are not higher than what will be expected under business as usual (BAU) conditions.
  2. Unit quality: whether the volume of transferred MOs generated from a mitigation activity is accurately calculated by setting a stringent or conservative baseline.

 

These two key factors, however, are not equally important under the different circumstances. The interactive flow chart is to explain those different scenarios and what would be the key measure(s) in each case.

 

For definition of terms and additional references, go to our Glossary of Terms page.

Explore how to ensure environmental integrity under different scenarios:
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