Climate Action Registry Announces Standards for Greenhouse Gas Reporting

Climate Action Registry Announces Standards for Greenhouse Gas Reporting

The California Climate Action Registry has set groundbreaking standards for the voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the gases that contribute to global warming.

Establishing comprehensive new procedures for GHG emissions reporting and a third party certification process, the Registry's reporting standards, based on widely accepted international guidelines, include:

  • Entity-wide registration (The Registry asks its participants to provide GHG information on all operations, not just projects.)
  • Specific emissions reporting and certification processes
  • Standardized calculation formulas and emissions factors
  • Separate direct and indirect emissions reporting (Direct emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are required for the first three years; the five other GHGs (CH4, methane; N2O, Nitrous Oxide; HFCs, Hydrofluorocarbons; PFCs, Perfluorocarbons; SF6, Sulfur Hexaflouride) must be reported after year three. Indirect emissions from electricity must be reported; other indirects are accepted.)
  • Independent certification of emissions data

    The Registry plans to release user-friendly protocols for the reporting and certification of emissions data by August 2002. The following month, the Registry will launch an online tool that will allow organizations to calculate and report their GHG emissions over the Internet.

    A nonprofit organization established by the State of California and supported by both businesses and environmental groups, the Registry offers organizations an opportunity to provide data voluntarily on a state or nationwide basis. Organizations that join the Registry will be able to document their GHG emissions with a credible organization, learn cost effective strategies for lowering emissions and have a third party record of any reductions made. Registration is also expected to result in cost savings and protection of early action, as well as recognition for environmental leadership.

    "Early movers in this arena will be respected by their customers and peers," says Mary Nichols, Secretary of California Resources Agency and Chair of the Registry board of directors. "Based on their knowledge and experience, Registry participants will also have a seat at the table to impact future policy."

    "Calculating GHG emissions will be an addition to the environmental management systems of some organizations. For others, it will be the start of a uniform approach to tracking GHG emissions," said Winston Hickox, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). "Many businesses have found that measuring emissions is the first step to reducing them."

    Many large companies are already getting behind California's new initiative.

    Bob Malone, regional president of BP, said: "BP began reducing its GHG emissions because we felt it was a responsible action. Participating in the Registry gives us a transparent and credible place to preserve our actions. The Registry is also valuable as a convener of thoughtful policy forums on many of the issues surrounding the measurement and accounting of GHG emissions. In achieving our own GHG reduction target over the past four years, we involved all of our operations worldwide and we learned a lot. We want to share what we learned. That's another reason we support the organization."

    The importance of transparency and credibility is echoed by Jan Schori, general manager of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD): "Whether or not carbon regulations are adopted nationally, we want SMUD's good greenhouse gas record to serve as a reference for other entities wishing to reduce their emissions and to be preserved as a certified basis for any future regulation."

    The reporting standards adopted by the Registry are based upon guidance from the California Energy Commission (CEC), the state's primary energy policy planning agency. The CEC used both California statute and international policies in modeling their recommendations, which were issued earlier this month.

    "Global warming presents the single largest threat to public health and the environment," says Peter Miller, a representative of the National Resources Defense Council, a well-respected national environmental organization. "The Registry encourages and recognizes organizations that take early action to reduce GHG pollution."

    Diane Wittenberg, president of the Registry, says that the work of the Registry has only begun. "We will be showcasing successful GHG reduction strategies of our members, working with businesses to adopt industry-specific protocols and metrics, developing sequestration and project-level protocols and addressing policy questions regarding how to allocate GHG reductions when they occur from a combination of participants and actions," Wittenberg said. "California often helps shape emerging issues, and this is one more instance of how the state is trying to take a responsible and thoughtful look at an important environmental issue."

    The California Climate Action Registry was established by California statute as a nonprofit voluntary registry for greenhouse gas (GHC) emissions. The purpose of the Registry is to help companies and organizations with operations in the state to establish emissions baselines against which any future GHG emission reduction requirements may be applied.