Technical Notes and Guidance Documents

Contributing to the literature on carbon pricing for climate change mitigation.

Developing Emissions Quantification Protocols for Carbon Pricing : A Guide to Options and Choices for Policy Makers

September 2020

This report builds on the PMR Guide for Designing Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programs (PMR MRV Guide), which provides a broader overview of establishing an MRV system. This report focuses on the technical detail of quantification protocols, that is, how in practice emissions data can be monitored and quantified for reporting. This report is intended for policy makers and government officials responsible for setting up and implementing emissions quantification protocols as part of the emissions monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems that support carbon taxes and emissions trading systems.


Analytical Report on Urban Crediting Methodology

June 2020

With an increasing share of populations dwelling in cities, urban emission reduction is gaining priority at the national level. A high share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the global footprint is ultimately attributable to urban areas; as such, the effect of carbon locking further increases the need for immediate action at the urban level. City and regional policy makers are well placed to affect urban emission pathways through city-wide actions. The credits generated from an urban carbon crediting approach may be used for a range of purposes.


State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2020

May 2020

This report provides an up-to-date overview of existing and emerging carbon pricing instruments around the world, including international, national and subnational initiatives. It also investigates trends surrounding the development and implementation of carbon pricing instruments and how they could accelerate the delivery of long-term mitigation goals. Specifically, this includes the use of carbon taxes, emissions trading systems and crediting mechanisms. International cooperation on carbon pricing and the status of work surrounding Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is also canvassed.



Reconciling Carbon Pricing and Energy Policies in Developing Countries

December 2019

This report focuses on how the objective of reducing emissions can be pursued alongside the priorities reflected in the energy policies of developing countries.


Catalogue of Knowledge Products 

December 2019

This catalogue encapsulates the PMR knowledge products ranging from guidebooks, reports and webinars up until December 2019, with web links for easy access.


Using Carbon Revenues 

August 2019

Carbon pricing is increasingly recognized as an important source of government revenue. Carbon revenues can be crucial in supporting cost-effective climate mitigation, industrial competitiveness and other economic and development objectives. How carbon revenues are used and how these uses are communicated are also critical for public and stakeholder acceptability of carbon pricing. This report provides practical guidance on using carbon revenues by helping policymakers understand the implications, opportunities, and challenges associated with different approaches to carbon revenue use. 


Guide to Communicating Carbon Pricing

December 2018

Stakeholder and public support are critical for an enduring and robust carbon pricing policy. How jurisdictions communicate their carbon pricing policy plays a key role in creating and maintaining that support. Drawing on case studies, research and best practice, the report provides guidance on designing and implementing effective carbon pricing communications strategies.

Designing Accreditation and Verification Systems : A Guide to Ensuring Credibility for Carbon Pricing Instruments​

March 2019

Carbon pricing instruments (CPIs) involve large legal and financial interests. Trust in the accuracy and integrity of the reported data is therefore a prerequisite for a well-functioning instrument. To ensure accuracy and integrity of data, a robust monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) system is essential. Verification is critical to enhance trust in a carbon pricing system. Where systems have large financial implications, participation is voluntary, or international exchange of units is planned, this trust is paramount for successful implementation. This guidebook aims to help regulators to better understand their options in designing a verification system tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.


Establishing scaled-up crediting program baselines under the Paris Agreement: Issues and options

November 2017

This technical note offers guidance and identifies options for developing baselines for scaled-up crediting programs under the Paris Agreement. Establishing baselines is partly a technical, methodological challenge, but the biggest uncertainties arise from unresolved questions regarding international rules under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, as well as how crediting programs may interact with achievement of countries' "nationally determined contributions" (NDC).

Carbon Market Readiness Training Guide

May 2017

This report includes comprehensive training material for companies on corporate preparation to carbon pricing which has been divided into 11 chapters. Each chapter was written by a representative from 10 IETA member companies with active carbon market participation. Each chapter focuses on a key aspect of preparing for compliance or involvement in a carbon market. Many of the examples are drawn from experiences with involvement in the Kyoto carbon markets (CDM, JI), the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), and the California carbon market.


A Guide to Greenhouse Gas Benchmarking for Climate Policy Instruments

May 2017

An increasing number of countries are considering the use of climate policy instruments to achieve mitigation commitments. Greenhouse gas benchmarks have been used in climate policy instruments to set targets and thresholds for environmental performance, and to determine the distribution of instrument benefits and obligations. This guidebook is intended to provide policymakers with structured guidance on the development of benchmarks and draws on over a decade of global experiences in benchmark development, covering practices in 16 jurisdictions that are already using, or are in the process of developing, a benchmarking approach.

Carbon Tax Guide: A Handbook for Policy Makers (available in English, Spanish, and French)

March 2017

Until 2008 only a handful of European countries had adopted explicit taxes on GHG emissions. By February 2017 some 24 countries and subnational jurisdictions had adopted or were scheduled to adopt a carbon tax. This guide provides an in-depth survey of the ways in which carbon taxes are being used to achieve a range of policy goals and national contexts.

Watch a recording of an overview Webinar. 

Emissions Trading Registires: Guidance on Regulation, Development, and Administration

October 2016

An emissions trading registry is an online database that issues, records, and tracks the carbon units that are exchanged within market mechanisms or financed through Results-Based Climate Finance programs. It is essential for countries that are in the process of designing market mechanisms to factor in specific regulatory, administrative, functional, and technical aspects of registry development. This report provides technical insights and guidance on how to support country-specific decision making and activities related to registry development. 

Experience in Developing Legislation to Support South Africa's Mandatory GHG Emissions Reporting Program and National Inventory Data Flow

December 2016

South Africa's National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP) sets out a number of key goals. Reaching these goals will enable South Africa to meet its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They key elements that will ensure South Africa can effectively track and steer greenhouse has (GHG) emissions and removals are the following: Establishment of a national system for GHG measurement, reporting and verification (MRV).

A Case Study on the Development of Technical Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Reporting in South Africa

December 2016

South Africa has a comprehensive climate change response strategy to support the transition to a low carbon economy and a climate-resilient society. Improving the national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory and implementing a carbon tax are but two elements that form part of this transition. Developing mandatory GHG reporting regulations will support not only the National GHG Inventory but also aid policy formulation, implementation, and legislation while allowing South Africa to meet its reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Carbon Credits and Additionality : Past, Present, and Future

May 2016

This paper clarifies the concept of additionality and its significance for crediting mechanisms; describes the different approaches that have been used to demonstrate or test additionality; and explores the implications of the evolving carbon markets on the application and importance of additionality.

Greenhouse Gas Data Management: Building Systems for Corporate/ Facility-Level Reporting 

April 2016

This guide provides step-by-step guidance on how policymakers can design effective systems to collect facility-level GHG data. It outlines how to develop GHG data systems that support a range of policy objectives; there is no “one size fits all solution.

Emissions Trading in Practice: A Handbook on Design and Implementation (Available in Spanish, Turkish and Chinese)

March 2016

The "ETS Handbook" is a go-to guide for policymakers that distills best practices and key lessons from more than a decade of practical experience with emissions trading worldwide. It was developed jointly with the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP).

Carbon Leakage: Theory, Evidence and Policy Design

October 2015

Provides an overview of carbon leakage, presenting theory, evidence and lessons learned and provides guidance to policymakers on how to combat it.

Crediting-Related Activities Under the PMR: Status and Support for Implementation

August 2015

Reviews the crediting-related activities countries are pursuing as part of the PMR and assesses whether and how they can stimulate scaled-up mitigation; identifies opportunities for the PMR to provide further support to achieve such scale-up.

Options to Use Existing International Offset Programs in a Domestic Context

August 2015

Explores options for drawing on existing knowledge and infrastructure to cost-effectively fast start a domestic offset mechanism. Presents a guiding framework that builds on previous research on offsets conducted by the PMR Technical Work Program.

Guide For Designing Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programs

May 2015

This report draws on experience from 13 existing and proposed greenhouse gas reporting programs to guide policymakers and practioners in developing such programs. The guide provides step-by-step guidance on four basic design elements: determine program objectives; create an enabling environment for program design and implementation; determine program structure and requirements; and conduct program review. Business, industry associations, civil society and funding agencies may also find this guide useful in facilitating their participation in the development of a reporting program.

Preparing for Carbon Pricing: Case Studies from Company Experience

January 2015

Examines the experiences of Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, and Pacific Gas and Electric as each adapted to operating within an emissions trading system.

A Survey of MRV Systems for China's ETS Pilots

July 2014

Surveys key features of GHG monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) systems in China’s ETS pilots. Each system reflects the characteristics of the pilots, with different approaches to coverage, reporting requirements, and data management.

Lessons Learned from Linking Emissions Trading Systems: General Principles and Applications

February 2014

Focuses on systems in which linked ETS systems can use a compliance instrument (allowance or credit) issued by the administrator of either system for compliance (bilateral links). Presents options for both systems to adopt common compliance instruments or retain unique instruments but honor those of the other system.

Overview of Carbon Offset Programs: Similarities and Differences

January 2015

Maps the key elements and design features of offset programs, presenting the essential differences and similarities among existing programs. Design features of 11 programs are presented and explores how each addresses issues such as efficiency, environmental integrity, applicability, and transaction costs. 

Options and Guidence for the Development of Baselines

October 2013

Designed to support policymakers establishing new mechanisms for climate change mitigation, this note presents options and guidance for the development of GHG emissions baselines.

Supporting GHG Mitigation Actions with Effective Data Management Systems

May 2013

Presents GHG data management systems (technologies and processes that facilitate data collection and organization) used to meet climate change-related policy objectives through the lens of four cases studies.


The Nuts and Bolts of Baseline Setting: Why, What, and How?

August 2012

This document provides an overview of baseline setting for greenhouse gas (GHG) crediting mechanisms. The main purpose of this note is to examine key issues for baseline setting in the context of scaled-up crediting mechanisms, and the discussion takes into account concepts developed and experience gained under these mechanisms. In addition, most of the concepts and examples presented here are relevant to setting baselines in the energy and industry sectors.


 Domestic Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS): Existing and Proposed Schemes

April 2012

Provides an overview and assessment of lessons and insights from existing and proposed domestic emissions trading schemes, including in the EU, New Zealand, Australia, Tokyo and California. For each scheme, a set of general characteristics—such as coverage and scope, setting a cap, allocation of allowances—is considered.


Crediting Mechanisms Overview 

December 2011

Summarizes (proposed) scaled-up crediting instruments as well as existing project-based crediting schemes and highlights important characteristics across them. This note provide insights that may inform the design and use of possible “scaled-up crediting instruments”.