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Estimating Greenhouse Gases (GHG)

Jim Newton, P.E., DEE

In response to a scientific consensus linking greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities to global climate change, many organizations are looking inwards to identify opportunities to reduce GHG emissions not only from their operations, but also from the electricity they purchase from outside utilities.. Organizations can inventory the emissions from their operations in order to track their performance and ensure that their actions do reduce GHG emissions, but how do they estimate the GHG. This is extremely important given the cap and trade legislation being considered by the US Congress.

The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard helps companies and other organizations to identify, calculate, and report GHG emissions. It is designed to set the standard for accurate, complete, consistent, relevant and transparent accounting and reporting of GHG emissions by companies and organizations, including information on setting organizational and operational boundaries, tracking emissions over time, and reporting emissions. It also provides guidance on GHG accounting and reporting principles, business goals and inventory design, managing inventory quality, accounting for GHG reductions, verification of GHG emissions, and setting a GHG target.

The revised edition has been designed with the following objectives in mind:
  • Promote greater consistency, transparency and quality in corporate GHG accounting and reporting practices through the use of standardized approaches and principles;
  • Simplify and reduce the costs of corporate GHG accounting and;
  • Provide business with information that can be used to build an effective strategy to manage and reduce emissions;
  • Provide information that facilitates business participation in different GHG programs, including trading, registries, and other GHG reduction efforts; and
  • Increase consistency in GHG accounting and reporting between different GHG programs.

  • The Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Project Accounting report, released in December 2005, is a tool for determining the greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits of climate mitigation projects.

    The report provides specific principles, concepts, and methods for quantifying and reporting GHG reductions – i.e., the decreases in GHG emissions, or increases in removals and/or storage.

    This course is deigned to provide a standardized method for quantifying and reporting GHG emissions associated with industrial operations.

    The texts for this course are “GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard” and “Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Project Accounting”. Both of these can be downloaded by going to the World Resources Institute website at www.wri.org and clicking on the publications page and searching for the titles or hitting the links provided on the titles.

    The course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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