What is a baseline?
The baseline (or 'baseline scenario') for an afforestation or reforestation (A/R) CDM project activity is defined in 5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 19:
The baseline for a proposed afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM is the scenario that reasonably represents the sum of the changes in carbon stocks in the carbon pools within the project boundary that would have occurred in the absence of the proposed project activity (5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 19).
Therefore, the baseline for a CDM project activity is a hypothetical reference case, representing the volume of greenhouse gases that would have been sequestered if the project activity were not implemented. Once established, the baseline can be used to determine:
- whether a CDM project activity is additional; and
- the volume of additional greenhouse gas sequestrations achieved by a project activity.
A baseline is deemed to be accurate if it is derived using a baseline methodology covered by the modalities and procedures for A/R projects. This is set out in 5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 19:
A baseline shall be deemed to reasonably represent the sum of the changes in carbon stocks in the carbon pools within the project boundary that would occur in the absence of the proposed afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM if it is derived using a baseline methodology referred to in paragraphs 12 and 13 above (5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 19).
Paragraph 12 provides that baseline and monitoring methodologies must comply with the requirements of:
- Methodologies previously approved by the Executive Board; or
- Modalities and procedures for establishing a new methodology, as set out in paragraph 13 below.
Paragraph 13 sets out the procedure for creating a new baseline and monitoring methodology.
Therefore, a baseline is deemed to reasonably represent the most likely alternative scenario to project implementation if it is developed using a baseline methodology that is:
- already approved by the Executive Board; or
- developed in accordance with the rules for developing new A/R methodologies and then approved by the Executive Board.