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December 13, 2005
Tool for Tracking Greenhouse Gas Reductions Launched at UN Climate Change Conference
    by William Baue

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Resources Institute release a GHG accounting tool for projects to complement their existing corporate-wide tool.

For the past two weeks, Montreal hosted the eleventh United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), the first since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force. In addition to the many important public policy decisions implemented, the conference also saw the launch of a tool for businesses and others to gauge climate change mitigation through projects seeking greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) released the GHG Protocol for Project Accounting, or Project Protocol for short.

"The Project Protocol fills an important need for project developers," said Bruno Vanderborght, vice president of corporate industrial ecology at Holcim (ticker: HOLN). "It explains what to do--and importantly, how to do it--so that claims about GHG reductions from our projects will be transparent and credible."

The Project Protocol is compatible with the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which certifies emissions reductions generated by specific projects toward targets agreed to by industrialized countries under the Kyoto Protocol. Shortly before the start of the UNCCC, the executive board of the CDM issued the first-ever emission reduction certifications under Kyoto to two hydroelectric projects in Honduras--exactly the kinds of initiatives that could potentially benefit from the Project Protocol.

For example, the Project Protocol outlines in detail the two primary approaches developed by climate policy experts for establishing emissions "baselines" against which to measure reductions: multi-project performance standards and project-specific baseline scenarios. The Protocol Project also distinguishes between "requirements" and "guidance" in walking through the project development process from selecting between the above-mentioned baseline procedures to monitoring, quantifying, and finally reporting GHG reductions.

"As project-based schemes for reducing GHG emissions begin to multiply, the Project Protocol's comprehensiveness and provisions for transparent reporting will make it much easier to evaluate and compare a wide range of projects," said Einar Telnes, technical director of international climate change services at DNV Certification.

The Protocol Project also includes two case studies that exemplify differences between the two baselines procedures, one from the cement sector and the other illustrating compressor station efficiency improvement.

The Protocol Project complements the existing GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (or Corporate Standard for short), the most widely-used procedure for quantifying entity-wide (instead of project level) GHG emissions, according to WRI/WBCSD.

"The widespread adoption of the Corporate Standard contributes significantly to the standardization and harmonization of GHG accounting and reporting frameworks worldwide," said Björn Stigson, president of WBCSD. "We hope that the Project Protocol will similarly serve as a model or basis for other emissions reporting and reduction programs."

The Protocol Project results from the WRI/WBCSD-sponsored Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, a four-year, multi-stakeholder dialogue including representatives from business, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments, and academics.


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