Certified Emission Reductions

Certified Emission Reduction (CERs) are the tradeable units of the CDM. CERs are defined in 3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 1(b) as follows:

A "certified emission reduction" or "CER" is a unit representing one tonne of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2-e) sequestered or abated, using global warming potentials defined by 2/CP.3. CERs are issued to project participants in CDM projects pursuant to Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol and the CDM modalities and procedures (3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 1(b)).

CERs can be used by Annex I Parties to meet their emissions targets, and can be added to a Party's overall quantified emission limitation and reduction commitment (2/CMP.1, paragraph 6).

Each CER has unique identifying information:

Each CER shall have a unique serial number comprising the following elements:

  1. The commitment period for which the CER is issued;
  2. The Party which hosted the CDM project activity, using the two-letter country code defined by ISO 3166;
  3. The type of unit (i.e. identifying it as a CER);
  4. A unit number that is unique to the CER for the identified commitment period and Party of origin; and
  5. A project identifier that is unique to the CDM project activity for the Party of origin (3/CMP.1, Annex, Appendix D, paragraph 7).

Each CER shall be held in only one account in one registry at a given time (3/CMP.1, Annex, Appendix D, paragraph 4). Voluntary cancellation of CERs in the CDM registry is available for any erroneously verified emission reductions (EB 75, Annex 34).

tCERs and lCERs

tCERs and lCERs are defined in 5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 1:

"Temporary CER" or "tCER" is a CER issued to project participants in an afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM which, subject to the provisions of section K below, expires at the end of the commitment period following the one in which they are issued (5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 1(g)).

"Long-term CER" or "lCER" is a CER issued for an afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM which, subject to the provisions in section K below, expires at the end of the crediting period of the afforestation or reforestation project activity under the CDM for which it was issued (5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 1(h)).

Project participants in afforestation and reforestation may choose whether to receive tCERs or lCERs for emission reductions attributable to the project (EB 15, Annex 9).

Since the CDM modalities and procedures apply to afforestation and reforestation project activities except as otherwise provided in 5/CMP.1 and 6/CMP.1, references in those modalities to CERs should be read as references to tCERs and lCERs when interpreted in the context of such projects (5/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 2).

Eligiblity to use CERs

Certain eligibility requirements apply to Parties seeking to use CERs to meet their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments. These are set out in 3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 31:

Subject to the provisions of paragraph 32 below, a Party included in Annex I with a commitment inscribed in Annex B is eligible to use CERs, issued in accordance with the relevant provisions, to contribute to compliance with part of its commitment under Article 3, paragraph 1, if it is in compliance with the following eligibility requirements:
  1. It is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol;
  2. Its assigned amount pursuant to Article 3, paragraphs 7 and 8, has been calculated and recorded in accordance with decision 13/CMP.1;
  3. It has in place a national system for the estimation of anthropogenic emissions by sources and anthropogenic removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol, in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 1, and the requirements in the guidelines decided thereunder;
  4. It has in place a national registry in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 4, and the requirements in the guidelines decided thereunder;
  5. It has submitted annually the most recent required inventory, in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 2, and Article 7, paragraph 1, and the requirements in the guidelines decided thereunder, including the national inventory report and the common reporting format. For the first commitment period, the quality assessment needed for the purpose of determining eligibility to use the mechanisms shall be limited to the parts of the inventory pertaining to emissions of greenhouse gases from sources/sector categories from Annex A to the Kyoto Protocol and the submission of the annual inventory on sinks;
  6. It submits the supplementary information on assigned amount in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 1, and the requirements in the guidelines decided thereunder and makes any additions to, and subtractions from, assigned amount pursuant to Article 3, paragraphs 7 and 8, including for the activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, in accordance with Article 7, paragraph 4, and the requirements in the guidelines decided thereunder (3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 31).

An Annex I Party will be considered to have met the requirements in paragraph 31 above when 16 months have elapsed since the submission of its national inventory report, with no objections raised to the contents of the report:

A Party included in Annex I with a commitment inscribed in Annex B shall be considered:
  1. To meet the eligibility requirements referred to in paragraph 31 above after 16 months have elapsed since the submission of its report to facilitate the calculation of its assigned amount pursuant to Article 3, paragraphs 7 and 8, and to demonstrate its capacity to account for its emissions and assigned amount, in accordance with the modalities adopted for the accounting of assigned amount under Article 7, paragraph 4, unless the enforcement branch of the Compliance Committee finds in accordance with decision 24/CP.7 that the Party does not meet these requirements, or, at an earlier date, if the enforcement branch of the Compliance Committee has decided that it is not proceeding with any questions of implementation relating to these requirements indicated in reports of the expert review teams under Article 8 of the Kyoto Protocol, and has transmitted this information to the secretariat (3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 32(a)).

An Annex I Party will continue to be eligible to use CERs towards its emissions target unless the enforcement branch of the Compliance Committee decides to suspend its eligibility:

A Party included in Annex I with a commitment inscribed in Annex B shall be considered: ...
  1. To continue to meet the eligibility requirements referred to in paragraph 31 above unless and until the enforcement branch of the Compliance Committee decides that the Party does not meet one or more of the eligibility requirements, has suspended the Party's eligibility, and has transmitted this information to the secretariat (3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 32(b)).

3/CMP.1, paragraph 33 provides that private and/or public entities authorised by a Party to participate in a CDM project activity will only be able to receive certified emission reductions (CERs) from that project activity if the authorising Party meets all these eligibility requirements at the time of providing the authorisation:

Private and/or public entities may only transfer and acquire CERs if the authorizing Party is eligible to do so at that time (3/CMP.1, paragraph 33).

Related Topics

Emission reductions

Quantified emission limitation and reduction commitment

Crediting period

Kyoto Protocol

Clean Develoment Mechanism (CDM)