The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative – the organisation that has set the standard for carbon emissions accounting methodology – is developing new accounting guidance for government operations.
The GHG Protocol Public Sector Standard (US) is aimed at helping all types of government bodies to meet various reporting objectives. The first objective is the US, but with the GHG Protocol already the basis for most carbon accounting worldwide, versions, or at least a template, for use elsewhere can’t be far behind.
The new guidance will address the organisational and structural challenges that governments face in accounting for carbon, something that is becoming increasingly clear in various parts of the world (and the UK is no exception). It will emphasise the “operational control” approach, i.e. only accounting for emissions over which an organisation has control and how to account for leased buildings and vehicle fleets. I guess issues of outsourcing will also be included, which is certainly an issue for the public sector in the UK.
The GHG Protocol is working with Logistics Management Institute (LMI), the EPA and the US Department of Energy (DOE) on the project. A draft has already been produced and comments invited, with a final draft due in January 2010.