Panel Discussion on Greenhouse Gas Accounting: The WRI/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO's Draft Standard for Greenhouse Gas Quantification, Reporting and Verification

A COP9 Side Event Hosted by ECOLOGIA and the Natural Resources Defense Council 10 December 2003, 6pm-8pm Room: Verona

Local, provincial, national and international bodies are initiating a host of activities designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. To name just a few, we are now seeing the emergence of greenhouse gas (GHG) trading schemes, carbon taxes, voluntary incentive programs, international agreements, sequestration projects, and a boom in low-emissions technologies. To implement and evaluate this bewildering array of initiatives, corporations, governments, public interest groups, and other organizations need sound methods for quantifying, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the effectiveness of many initiatives will be enhanced substantially by standardizing these methods, so that a tonne of greenhouse gases emitted in one place is sure to be equivalent to a tonne emitted elsewhere.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol, developed through a consortium convened by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, is perhaps the most widely used GHG accounting standard today, and has been incorporated into many climate initiatives. In June 2002, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) initiated the development of a similar document, which it expects to publish as the ISO 14064 standard in early 2005. Because of ISO's global reach among governments, intergovernmental organizations and, especially, the business community, ISO 14064 could become widely used and very influential.

ISO has committed to making ISO 14064 compatible with the GHG Protocol, and has drawn much material from it. However, because ISO 14064 will have a verification component, because it will serve as part of the ISO 14000 family of environmental management standards, and because the process of its development differs from GHG Protocol's, the two accounting approaches may differ in aspects of their content and function.

ECOLOGIA proposes, together with the Natural Resources Defense Council, to convene a panel discussion as a side-event at COP9 to explore the compatibility of these two important methods for GHG accounting. Between 5 and 7 participants representing a range of perspectives will be invited to:

  • Consider in which areas the GHG Protocol and the emerging ISO standard are complementary
  • Identify any areas of difference in the current drafts of GHG Protocol and ISO 14064
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  • Assess the significance of the two approaches, with regard both to: a) the range of uses for GHG accounting standards, and b) ensuring that 'a tonne is a tonne is a tonne'
  • Discuss possible mechanisms for enhancing compatibility/complementarity as the two standards move forward in their development and implementation.

Panelists will include representatives of both GHG Protocol and ISO, as well as a range of users of GHG accounting methods (e.g. corporate, government, NGO, developed/developing country and intergovernmental perspectives). The panel discussion will be captured in a summary paper both to be circulated within the climate community and to inform the further development of ISO 14064 and GHG Protocol.

For additional information, please contact ECOLOGIA Program Director Heather McGray at