Advancing Article 6 Negotiations: a proposal to resolve the Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) transition deadlock

Much of the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement have been finalised. However, negotiators at COP26 still need to resolve a few outstanding issues, including devising the implementation guidelines for Article 6. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement permits voluntary cooperation between Parties to allow for higher ambition in mitigation and adaptation actions through cooperative approaches. These include the transfer of mitigation outcomes under paragraph 2, a market mechanism for mitigation under paragraph 4, and non-market approaches for mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development under paragraphs 8 and 9. Negotiations associated with the Article 6.4 mechanism include the issue of a possible transition of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) from the Kyoto Protocol regime to the Article 6.4 mechanism. A possible CDM transition encompasses the transfer of activities (projects and programmes of activities), carbon credits (known as certified emission reductions or CERs), methodologies for setting baselines and monitoring emissions, and infrastructure and institutional arrangements to the Article 6.4 mechanism. Out of these four facets of a possible CDM transition, the transition of CERs remains the most contentious issue, stemming from contrasting views among Parties, on the path forward. Taking cognisance of the positions of various Parties, this paper objectively evaluates the viability of a possible transition of CERs with a view to suggesting potential solutions to advance negotiations.