What is a methodology?

There are two types of methodologies in the CDM context - baseline methodologies and monitoring methodologies.

Baseline methodologies are defined in the CDM Glossary of Terms as follows:

A methodology is an application of an approach as defined in paragraph 48 of the CDM modalities and procedures, to an individual project activity, reflecting aspects such as sector and region (Glossary of CDM Terms, Version 03).

In essence, a baseline methodology is the means to estimate the emissions that would have been created in the most plausible alternative scenario to the implementation of the project activity (called the baseline scenario).

Monitoring methodologies are defined in the CDM Glossary of Terms as follows:

A monitoring methodology refers to the method used by project participants for the collection and archiving of all relevant data necessary for the implementation of the monitoring plan (Glossary of CDM Terms, version 03).

Therefore, a monitoring methodology is the means to calculate the actual emission reductions from the project, taking into account any emissions from sources within the project boundary. A monitoring methodology sets out how project proponents should develop and implement a monitoring plan for a particular project type, in order to gather the data required to calculate emission reductions from the project.

Both the baseline methodology and the monitoring methodology must be specified in the project design document (PDD). Existing baseline and monitoring methodologies may be used by project participants, in which case the relevant methodology should simply be nominated (by reference number) in the PDD. Alternatively, a new methodology can be developed. This is set out in 3/CMP.1, Annex, paragraph 44, which states:

A baseline shall be deemed to reasonably represent the anthropogenic emissions by sources that would occur in the absence of the proposed project activity if it is derived using a baseline methodology referred to in paragraphs 37 and 38 above.

Paragraph 37 provides that baseline and monitoring methodologies must comply with the requirements of:

  1. Methodologies previously approved by the Executive Board; or
  2. Modalities and procedures for establishing a new methodology, as set out in paragraph 38 below.

Paragraph 38 sets out the procedure for creating a new baseline and monitoring methodology.

This chapter explains the process for the development, submission, approval and revision of a new methodology. Baseline and monitoring methodologies must now be developed together, using a single form (CDM-NM). This replaces the earlier practice of separately developing a baseline methodology (using CDM-NMB) and monitoring methodology (using CDM-NMM). However, even when this was the prevailing practice, the Executive Board required project proponents to demonstrate a strong link between the two:

A strong link between baseline and monitoring methodologies are to be provided. New baseline and monitoring methodologies shall be proposed and approved together (EB 10, Annex 1, paragraph 7).

The Executive Board has clarified that once a methodology is approved, it may be used for both CDM project activities and CDM programme activities under a Programme of Activities (EB 35, paragraph 15).

 A list of approved methodologies and proposed methodologies under consideration is available on the UNFCCC website.

Related Topics

What is a baseline? (P)

Establishing a baseline (P)

What is monitoring? (P)

Monitoring plan (P)

What is the CDM-PDD?

What is a methodology? (SSC)

What is a methodology? (A/R)

What is a methodology? (SSC A/R)

What is a methodology? (PoA)