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A conceptual framework and its application for addressing leakage: the case of avoided deforestation


  • Louise Aukland
  • Pedro Moura Costa
  • Sandra Brown


One of the most challenging technical issues associated with project-based mechanisms is that of leakage. A conceptual framework is proposed for the identification and analysis of leakage potentially generated by a project. The categorization of leakage based on the actors responsible for their manifestation is proposed, which divides sources of leakage into primary and secondary types. It is the actors or agents responsible for the baseline activities that cause primary leakage. Secondary leakage occurs when the project's outputs create incentives for third parties to increase emissions elsewhere. This distinction, based on the source of leakage, provides a basis for the analysis outlined in the paper. The extent and type of leakage will vary depending on the project typology and design. Using a decision tree approach, the process of identifying potential sources of leakage is demonstrated for the case study of avoided deforestation projects. If the main elements determining a baseline are properly identified and understood, in particular the 'baseline agents', a combination of the decision tree approach and apportioning responsibility, can assist in the quantification and monitoring of primary leakage. An analysis at the project design stage can also assist in minimizing the risk of future leakage. Econometric methods may prove more useful in analyzing secondary leakage.

Suggested Citation

  • Louise Aukland & Pedro Moura Costa & Sandra Brown, 2003. "A conceptual framework and its application for addressing leakage: the case of avoided deforestation," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 123-136, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:3:y:2003:i:2:p:123-136
    DOI: 10.3763/cpol.2003.0316

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandre Sauquet & Sébastien Marchand & José Gustavo Feres, 2012. "Ecological Fiscal Incentives and Spatial Strategic Interactions: the Case of the ICMS-E in the Brazilian state of Paraná," Working Papers halshs-00700474, HAL.
    2. repec:spr:masfgc:v:23:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s11027-017-9746-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Pelletier, Johanne & Kirby, Kathryn R. & Potvin, Catherine, 2012. "Significance of carbon stock uncertainties on emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 3-11.
    4. Gwenole Le Velly & Alexandre Sauquet & Sergio Cortina-Villar, 2015. "PES Impact and Leakages over Several Cohorts: The Case of PSA-H in Yucatan, Mexico," Working Papers halshs-01228371, HAL.
    5. Delacote, Philippe & Robinson, Elizabeth J.Z. & Roussel, Sébastien, 2016. "Deforestation, leakage and avoided deforestation policies: A spatial analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 192-210.
    6. Glomsrød, Solveig & Wei, Taoyuan & Liu, Gang & Aune, Jens B., 2011. "How well do tree plantations comply with the twin targets of the Clean Development Mechanism? -- The case of tree plantations in Tanzania," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1066-1074, April.
    7. Desbureaux Sébastien & Eric Kéré Nazindigouba & Combes Motel Pascale, 2016. "Working Paper 238 - Impact Evaluation in a Landscape: protected natural forests, anthropized forested lands and deforestation leakages in Madagascar’s rainforests," Working Paper Series 2341, African Development Bank.
    8. repec:taf:tcpoxx:v:17:y:2017:i:5:p:573-590 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:ecoser:v:33:y:2018:i:pa:p:68-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Stephenson, Kurt & Shabman, Leonard, 2015. "Nutrient Assimilation Services for Water Quality Credit Trading Programs," Discussion Papers dp-15-33, Resources For the Future.

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