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PMR Technical Note 5, Options and Guidance for the Development of Baselines, is designed to support PMR “Implementing Countries” that are considering the establishment of new mechanisms for climate change mitigation. It may also assist other policy makers and policy analysts involved in mechanism design or review, practitioners developing baseline methodologies, and actors implementing mitigation initiatives whose impact needs to be quantified.
Emissions baselines form the basis for the quantification of the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation impact of activities and are thus fundamental to market-based climate policy instruments, as well as to non-market-based ones such as results-based payments. For crediting mechanisms, they set the reference level that is used to determine the quantity of credits that will be awarded for a given mitigation action or effort for the associated emission reductions achieved. For trading mechanisms, baselines can help to establish the emissions target and to distribute emissions allowances to covered entities. For non-market mechanisms, baselines can be used to calculate the emission reductions associated with specific policies and actions and, in the case of results-based finance, as the basis to allocate financial payments.
Part I of the document focuses on the context for baselines, key concepts and terms, and principles, considerations, and potential trade-offs that can inform decisions in the development of robust and transparent baselines. Since there is already a rich body of work on baselines, especially for project-based crediting mechanisms as well as for BAU scenario development, this document builds heavily on, and provides pointers to, key references, websites, and other resource materials.
Part II provides a step-by-step description of how to develop baselines. It begins with a brief description of options for baseline development and approval, and then proceeds in six further sections to present options to define and update baselines.

Product Type
Focus Area
Low Carbon Development
Scope / Extension
Sub-national, Project, & Local/Community level
Methodological Steps
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
Contact Name
PMR Secretariat
Contact Email
e-Learning available
e-Learning available
Facilitated Learning Avalable
Facilitated Learning Avalable