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Tracking Emissions in a Post-Paris World

As the Paris climate deal requires developing countries to monitor their emissions, organisations are using online courses to train a new breed of green accountants capable of the complex task. 

Nicola Jones’ excellent article on emissions monitoring has been making the internet rounds since its initial publication in Yale’s Environment 360, first in The Guardian and more recently in GreenBiz. Jones interviewed VCS Chief Program Officer Jerry Seager for the piece:

Jerry Seager, chief program officer for Verified Carbon Standard, a registry for carbon credits, notes that things can get complicated. If you have a lot of cook stoves and diesel trucks, for example, the greenhouse effect of the emitted black carbon can be hard to quantify. “You don’t know if it’s going to fall on a glacier, for example,” he says. And in agriculture, emissions from fertilizers can depend heavily on how waterlogged the soils are.

A more flexible strategy, a willingness to accept nonbinding commitments, and smart leadership by the French all helped secure a climate deal in Paris. The real work lies ahead, but Paris created a strong, if long overdue, foundation on which to begin building a carbon-free future.

But in general, Seager adds, these are small details compared to the big picture. The challenge, he says, is not to boost the precision and accuracy of national inventories to this level of fine detail, but rather to make sure that a reasonable accounting can be done “efficiently and cost effectively”.

More than discussing post-Paris monitoring, reporting, and verification, VCS is contributing to national emissions accounting through our participation in the Initative for Climate Action Transparency.

Read the full article here: The carbon counters: tracking emissions in a post-Paris world