Standardized baselines for the CDM: are we on the right track?

For a long time, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been criticized for its cumbersome procedures and risks of weak environmental integrity. As a potential solution to both of these shortcomings, the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) called for the use of “standardized baselines” at the Cancun conference in late 2010. This policy paper provides a brief overview of the current CDM framework for standardized baselines, identifies important shortcomings, assesses lessons learned on standardization from CDM methodologies, and recommends directions for the further development of standardized baselines. The paper reflects the views of researchers who have worked on standardization in offsetting mechanisms for over a decade.