To line up a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, email Nick Maxwell, PhD: [email protected].


What Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories?

Greenhouse gas emissions inventories are like financial statements or bathroom scales. You check on them regularly to see how you're doing.

An inventory shows how much greenhouse gas pollution you are putting into the air. You need an inventory every year or two to see how much your emissions have improved.

Greenhouse gas inventories also guide you to what you should do. In your home finances, if you have too much money going out, you look at your credit card statements to see where the money goes to. Too much going out to buy drinks on the weekend? Are repairs on your car costing more than replacing it? As you see where the money is going, you get ideas about how to adjust your life. It’s the same with greenhouse gas emissions. Are most of your emissions from burning gasoline in cars and trucks? Are emissions mostly from people burning natural gas to heat their homes? Are methane emissions a big deal? Should you start by tending to the health of your cattle to cut down on cattle gas? How about gases from refrigerating units? Big deal? Little deal? You need to know.

The biggest deal is burning fossil fuels -- gasoline, natural gas, and coal. In Washington State, where Climate Protection NW works, there is almost no coal burning. Your community's biggest emissions probably come from gasoline and natural gas.

To know about your specific are or organization, you need a greenhouse gas emissions inventory to tell you how much greenhouse gases are released by each activity.


Cooperating with the United Nations

A highly respected organization of the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has settled on how to take greenhouse gas inventories.

The IPCC guidelines are very sensible. For example, they say the first inventory for an organization or location should be based on whatever data and methodology can be used easily and quickly. If that means that the first inventory is kind of rough, no worries. Improve it when you update it.

The IPCC requires that every inventory include standard elements:

  • Emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
  • Emissions reported as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), which allow for comparisons of warming impact.
  • Emissions broken out by Energy, Agriculture, Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU), and Waste.
  • Open and clear reporting of source data and clear explanations of calculations
  • Quality controls: Planned tests and reviews of each step of the inventory.
  • Quality assurance reviews: A review by an analyst who was not involved in creating the inventory.
A next step is to include emissions of fluorinated compounds: manufactured gases used in heating and refrigeration.

To support the call for transparency, as Climate Protection NW works on inventories, the reports will be provided here.


To line up Climate Protection NW to take a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, email Nick Maxwell, PhD: [email protected].