Testing the emission reduction claims of CDM projects using the Benford’s Law

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Benford’s Law suggests that the first digits of numerical data are heavily skewed towards low numbers. Data that fail to conform to Benford’s Law when conformity is to be expected may have been manipulated. Using Benford’s Law, we conduct digital frequency analysis on the emission reduction claims of Clean Development Mechanism projects. Digital frequency analysis indicates that although emission reduction claims made in project design documents do not conform to Benford’s Law, we cannot reject the null hypothesis that data on certified emission reductions do. Benford’s Law offers a rapid, low-cost means of identifying possible instances of data manipulation.


Original languageEnglish
JournalClimatic Change
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Nov 2019


  • clean development mechanism, emission reductions, Benford’s Law, data manipulation