Project Specifc and Generic Baselines

Several approaches and methods are available for determining the baseline. Two types of baselines commonly considered are: (i) project-specific and (ii) generic or regional. The project-specific baseline The procedure to establish a project-specific baseline, also defined as the bottom-up method (Moura-Costa et al. 2000), compares different land uses or management practices to identify those that best represent the baseline scenario. The carbon stock associated with the baseline scenario becomes the reference carbon stock level, which is compared to that after the project activity to calculate the gains in carbon stock due to the project. In following this procedure, all types of feasible land uses and management practices identified for the project area, and the associated carbon stocks, should be assessed. Because land use, management practices and changes in both are often spatially and temporally variable, a detailed project-specific study is likely to predict emissions more accurately than a broader regional or sector-based assessment. Project-specific baseline development involves assessment of future land use as well as changes in carbon stocks in the land-use systems in the without-project scenario. Approaches to and methods of developing project-specific baselines are presented in Chapter 7. The project-specific approach can be easily monitored and verified; however, it is limited by high cost and inconsistent methods adopted across projects in a region. The Executive Board of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol has approved several methodologies for developing project-specific baselines for afforestation and reforestation projects.

Project-specific baseline could prove problematic for four reasons. First, it is inherently difficult to predict the future. Secondly, under Clean Development Mechanism, project managers have strong incentives to overstate the decline in carbon stocks in the baseline scenario because such overestimates increase the predicted gains in carbon stocks and thereby the relevant revenues for the projects. Thirdly, baseline setting requires some assumptions about regional and national land-use related programmes and policies (Chomitz 1998). Finally, project-specific baselines have high transaction costs (Watson et al. 2000). Generic or regional baselines Regional baselines offer an alternative to some of the limitations of project-specific baselines and can be considered as standardized baselines for larger reference areas, which can avoid high or low project-specific baselines. Regional baselines could be developed for larger homogeneous zones such as agroecological zones, forest types or other types of spatial characterization based on rainfall, soil, altitude, topography and vegetation cover, using the methods presented in Chapter 7. This baseline could be adopted by all project developers in the region. Such baselines enhance the transparency of methods, facilitate review of the methods and reduce the uncertainty introduced because of methods and subjective judgments. The benefits of a generic or regional baseline are low cost and suitability for projects of different sizes (from small scale to regional), while their drawback is lack of site-specific accuracy, the reason why this procedure finds only limited use in land-based mitigation projects.

Adoption of the project-specific baseline approach will require estimation of baseline carbon stocks and projection of changes in the stocks for each project. A generic or regional baseline, on the other hand, will require estimation of baseline stocks and their rates of change on per hectare basis for each land-use system: these values could be applied to any project in the region that constitutes a single agroecological zone, which may comprise several districts, states and provinces.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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