Green Light for Project to Standardize Emissions Inventories, Reductions, and Offsets

Green Light for Project to Standardize Emissions Inventories, Reductions, and Offsets

The nonprofit Leonardo Academy has announced a new project to develop ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for quantifying and documenting environmental emission inventories, offsets, and reduction credits. ANSI is a private, nonprofit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system.

The standards are needed, say project organizers, to accelerate the growth of market-driven emission reduction actions, and will make it easier for consumers, building owners, and companies to get credit for the environmental benefits of their emission reduction actions. They will provide consistent integrated coverage of the full range of emissions types, from greenhouse gases to mercury. The open and transparent standards will make it clear in the marketplace what stated emission inventories, offsets, and reduction credits really mean.

The process will create a single standard that combines the breadth of current information on the topic into an integrated, easily understood package providing the essential benefits to both the environment and the business world. The objective of this initiative is to develop credible and effective standards for emission inventories, offsets, and reduction credits that are practical for both end users and the marketplace, and are therefore effective drivers for environmental improvement

Leonardo Academy President Michael Arny said, "This is an important initiative because effective emissions crediting and offsetting standards are key to solving both our global warming and toxic emissions problems. Such standards make it economically and socially advantageous to increase this type of environmental stewardship, engaging the creative energy and drive of the marketplace to achieve important environmental goals."

Individuals and organizations take action to reduce emissions for many reasons including altruism, the opportunity for recognition, and to capture the market value of these emission reductions. Having a consistent and practical way of keeping score is a driver for action Arny says. For example, the development of integrated emissions standards will make it possible for car buyers to capture the economic value, at the time of purchase of their low emission vehicles' pollution reductions over the life of the car. It will make it possible for a building owner that documents reduced energy use to capture the economic value of emission reductions created by their actions.

Many government, non-government and nonprofit organizations have made important contributions to the knowledge base on emission reduction credits and offsets in both the regulated an unregulated arenas, but standards and programs are often disjointed and limited in the types of emissions they address, the geographic areas they cover, and the applicable participants. The goal of this standard development initiative is to provide an integrated standard that has broad coverage for types of pollutants, geographic scope and participants.

“This ANSI standard development process will build on all the great work that has been done to date to create an integrated standard that has broad coverage and works well for both the users and the public, “ said Arny.

The projected scope of the new standards include:
  • A multi-pollutant approach to emissions issues that awards credit for all types of emissions reduced
  • Levels of documentation and verification needed for various applications
  • A clear description of qualified verifiers for achievements
  • Baselines set to recognize all positive achievements
  • Emissions inventories for organizations, products, services, events, travel, families, individuals and other causes of emissions
  • Emissions offsets for organizations, products, services, events, travel and other causes of emissions
  • Direct and indirect emission reduction
  • Emission reductions created by pollution sequestration, renewable energy, energy efficiency projects, and other emission reductions
  • Market vehicles for emission reductions and offset transactions, including emission reduction credits, white (energy efficiency emission reductions) tags, green (renewable energy emission reductions) tags, etc.
Funding for all Leonardo Academy projects is being gathered from a variety of sources on an ongoing basis. Johnson Controls, a major creator of emission reductions through energy efficiency, has contributed $20,000 to become a Silver Level Sponsor of this project. Johnson Controls is delivering enough energy efficiency for its customers to meet 4% of the Kyoto goals. Leonardo Academy is seeking additional sponsors at all levels for this project.

Leonardo Academy is an ANSI accredited standards developer, and this project will be carried out in accordance with Leonardo Academy’s ANSI approved standard development process. This project was announced through the ANSI Project Initiation Notification System on June 23, 2006 and has the ANSI standard development number BSR/LEO 5000-200x.

Leonardo Academy develops rating systems, certification programs, educational resources and other tools that make practicing sustainability practical. The organization aims to put the competitive market to work on improving the environment, by developing outcome-focused products and resources that facilitate sustainability.