Who is building our global GHG MRV infrastructure?
Sometimes it feels quite lonely here at GHG Management Institute headquarters. Toiling away trying to do what we think is needed to support the future of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation policy. While most people who pay attention to the issue are obsessed with the politics of the moment, we work away behind the scenes thinking about and building infrastructure for the long-run. Indeed in today’s world of economic near-depression and policy gridlock, the unfortunate reality is that long-term infrastructure garners minimal attention.
What do I mean by infrastructure in this context? I mean those things that enable implementation of policy in all sectors and at all levels. I include in this list:
- The scientific knowledge necessary to understand the problem and the technologies to address it
- The legal and regulatory systems to manage the problem
- In this era of information technology, the information management and decision support systems necessary to address a global problem that is pervasive in its implications
- The technical standards (i.e., rules, codes, etc.) that facilitate industry and other actors to coordinate and act cost-effectively with high degrees of quality assurance
- Adequate quantity and quality of human resources to address the problem and educational systems to supply well-trained professionals
There is much work yet to be done to develop the legal and regulatory infrastructure necessary to mitigate GHG emissions. However, as we all are aware, further progress on this front awaits an expanded political consensus.
Significant investment is going into new information technology systems designed to manage GHG emissions in anticipation of future policy and emission markets. Yet, the quality of products available varies widely and is poorly understood. By offering substantive third-party testing, the Institute has begun working to address this opacity.
Globally, the body of standards that will need to be developed to support the range of policies, technologies, and markets is still in its infancy. GHG standards to-date are, for the most part, overly broad and non-specific. The engineering and scientific communities have yet to heavily engage and support the development of more detailed and rigorous standards along the lines of what we see in other industries. And standards development has been systemically hamstrung by the expense and time existing approaches and processes require. However, when you consider the speed and scale at which standards must be developed to keep pace with the demands of a carbon-constrained world, the question of whether existing processes are up to the task emerges. (We will discuss this issue in greater depth in a future blog post detailing the work the GHG Management Institute is undertaking to revolutionize the development of standards, methodologies, protocols, and codes.)
And clearly, the Institute is strongly focused on training and education: building the GHG measurement and management workforce of the future. This has been a key focus since the Institute was founded, and is visible in a range of initiatives from our courses to our developing professional certification program, even our workforce survey.
But, in this blog post, I want to focus more on the first of these infrastructure components: scientific knowledge. The Institute is not a research organization, so our role here is not to generate new science. But as a convening organization, we network GHG professionals from around the world, providing fora for GHG professionals and researchers to develop the intellectual foundation of their new field. One of the key ways we are doing this is with the launch of a peer-reviewed scholarly journal with Earthscan. The journal’s title is Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Management, and it is unique in its focus on the intellectual infrastructure we will need to go beyond just policy debate and design and move onto the serious work of IMPLEMENTATION.
We encourage you to spread the word about this new important journal and to even consider submitting a paper yourself. I hope you agree, that any field without an intellectual base and home will not be successful. And we cannot afford the art and practice of GHG measurement and management to fail.
The aims and scope of the journal are as follows:
Greenhouse Gas Measurement & Management (GHGMM) aims to serve the growing community of professionals dealing with greenhouse gases (GHGs) by providing reliable and up-to-date information on a broad spectrum of relevant issues, including the following:
Measurement of greenhouse gases
- GHG Inventories – application of GHG inventory techniques at all levels (national, organizational, facility and supply-chain-based), including integration of disaggregate level data into national level inventories;
- Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) – challenges in, and experiences with, the design and/or application of MRV approaches in developed and developing countries;
- Methodologies – lessons learnt from the application of existing methodologies (including application challenges and needed improvements) and from the development of new ones to measure or estimate GHGs from all sources and sinks;
- Uncertainty – managing uncertainty in the measurement or estimation of GHG emissions, removals and storage;
- Quality assurance/Quality control – establishing and enhancing QA/QC procedures, including verification of GHG emissions, removals and storage;
- Best practice – identification of, and experiences with the use of, good practices in measuring GHGs, collecting activity data and identifying appropriate emission factors;
- Sectoral approaches – challenges associated with the estimation/measurement of GHGs from specific sectors and activities;
- Protocols and standards – experiences with the application of various protocols and standards for accounting GHGs;
- GHG and air pollutant emissions – synergies and co-benefits in estimating GHGs and emissions of other air pollutants, including integration or harmonization of reporting requirements;
- Software tools – experiences and challenges with the use of existing, and the development of new, software tools for the estimation/measurement of GHGs;
Markets and projects
- Market-based mechanisms – experiences with the use of market-based mechanisms (including the Kyoto Mechanisms – Emissions trading, Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation) and with the development of reliable project-specific GHG inventory data;
- Additionality, baselines, leakage, permanence – lessons learnt, and experiences with, addressing all of these issues at the international, regional, national, and project level;
- Protocols and standards – experiences with the application of various protocols and standards for project GHG accounting;
Products and technologies
- Best practices – identification of, and experiences with the use of, good practices in designing monitoring, reporting, and verifying GHGs from products and technologies;
- Market-based tools – experiences with the design and implementation of market-based tools for specific products and technologies
- Protocols and standards – experiences with the application of various protocols and standards for product and technology GHG accounting
Management of greenhouse gases
- Accounting – practices relating to accounting for the effects of mitigation measures and determining compliance with specific requirements at all levels;
- Best practice – identification of, and sharing experiences with the use of, good practices in designing systems to monitor, report, and verify GHGs;
- Emissions trends – analysis of, and projections for, GHGs from specific activities, products and technologies;
- Software tools – experiences and challenges with the use of existing, and the development of new, software tools for the accounting, auditing and management of GHGs from mitigation projects, products, technologies;
- Performance measurement – experiences with improving the implementation of mitigation measures and enhancing the management of GHGs;
- Carbon footprint – experiences with the use of different methods/techniques to estimate the carbon footprint of products, practices, and technologies;
- Corporate disclosure and community right to know – risks and opportunities associated with governance issues relating to the management of GHG.
GHGMM will be open to different types of articles, including:
- Original research papers (for example, on topics relating to: theoretical and practical developments on GHGs, concepts and methods, empirical analysis, policy assessments)
- Short communications/Case studies
- Invited reviews
- Opinion pieces/Commentaries
- Book reviews
- Meeting reports