In order to quantify the impact of human activities on climate change, various greenhouse gas emissions accounting methods have been developed. These methods are developed in line with the object of the study: territory, organization, product, etc. Depending on the exercises, we may refer to inventory, Bilan Carbone®, carbon footprint, and so on. The generic term: "GHG Inventories" covers all these approaches. This diagnostic makes it possible for organizations to make a situational analysis of their year of activity, for all their greenhouse gas emissions, broken down per emission category, with the purpose of identifying possible reduction action levers.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), born of the Rio Summit of 1992, targets the stabilization of greenhouse gas emissions of anthropogenic origin. It was reinforced by the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 which set an objective of reducing the emissions of 38 industrialized countries by 5.2% over the period 2008-2012, compared to emissions in 1990. The European Union, for its part, committed to reducing its emissions by 8%, an objective that has been achieved.
In addition, since 1 January 2005 a GHG emissions quota trading system has been in place in the EU, based on directive 2003/87/EC of 13 October 2003. Only certain installations are concerned by this system.
The EU Climate & Energy package
In December 2008, under the French presidency of the European Union, the European heads of state adopted the "climate & energy package". Through this series of directives and regulations, Europe undertakes to reduce, by 2020, its global greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels.
The European Union plans to increase this objective to -30% if other industrialized nations accept doing the same.
To achieve this level of reduction, the EU needs to attain other objectives ( 20-20-20 measures) :
- improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020;
- increasing to an average of 20% the proportion of renewable energies accounted for in energy consumption.
The climate & energy package also underpins the emissions quota trading scheme, extending it to all industrial emitters and to civil aviation (domestic flights and flights between countries covered by the ETS Directive), and developing the auctions market.
A new Climate & Energy package is currently being discussed in order to determine new energy ambitions in Europe for 2030.
As far as environmental accounting is concerned, the European Commission has launched a three-year trial whose main objective is to develop reference bases for sectors in Europe through application of general PEF (Product Environmental Footprint) and OEF (Organization Environmental Footprint) methods.
The trial also looks to test how environmental information is verified. To this end, the Commission has launched a bibliographical study aiming to identify and describe the most appropriate conformity systems for PEF or OEF declarations.
To find out more: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/index_en.htm
International context and standardization
Standard ISO 14064-1 : 2006 and the ISO 14069 technical report
Standard ISO 14064-1:2006, drafted by the ISO/TC207 "environmental management" technical committee specifies, for organizations, the principles and requirements for quantification and for the drafting of reports on greenhouse gas emissions and their elimination. This "generalist" standard, published in 2006, covers the principles of the GHG protocol.
France proposed its revision, and this was accepted to the tune of more than 80% (voted on in September 2013). This work began in January 2014 in the framework of the TC207/SC7/WG4 and is led by France (President and Secretary).
The contents of the revision will be based on the ISO 14069 Technical Report, available since April 2013. The objective of this technical guide is to help users in the application of the ISO 14064-1 standard by way of guidelines and examples in order to ensure transparency in the quantification of emissions and elimination of GHG in organizations and in the drafting of their reports. In addition, it provides a listing of the emission categories within each scope.