Energy & Technology

An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Issues

An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Issues

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
August 2000

Christopher P. Loreti, William F. Wescott, and Michael A. Isenberg, Arthur D. Little Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Press Release

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Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

At a Pew Center conference on Early Action held in September 1999, DuPont announced plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 65 percent from 1990 levels by 2010. BP Amoco intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 and has implemented an emissions trading system across all of its businesses. United Technologies Corporation has announced targets to reduce energy and water usage by 25 percent per dollar of sales by 2007.

Motivated by factors ranging from a desire to monitor and reduce energy consumption to concern for the environment to anticipation of future requirements to cut emissions that contribute to climate change, a growing number of companies are voluntarily undertaking action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This report provides an overview of how greenhouse gas emissions are estimated and reported in emissions inventories. It highlights a variety of approaches taken by companies to identify, track, and curb their emissions, and provides insights from their experiences.

This Pew Center report is the first in a new series aimed at identifying practical solutions to address climate change. The Solutions series is aimed at providing individuals and organizations with tools to evaluate and reduce their contributions to climate change. This first report, prepared by Christopher Loreti, William Wescott, and Michael Isenberg of Arthur D. Little, Inc., identifies credible approaches and offers a set of principles for conducting emissions inventories. The authors identify key decision points in efforts to conduct an emissions inventory. They note that the purpose of an inventory should influence the approach, pointing out, for example, the tension that exists between encouraging consistency in reporting practices and providing flexibility to reflect a specific company's unique circumstances.

In the absence of a comprehensive climate policy regime, voluntary efforts to identify and reduce greenhouse gases at the source are critical. Ensuring that such efforts are ultimately recognized under future policy regimes is equally important and only likely to be possible if greenhouse gas emissions reductions are found to be real, quantifiable, and verifiable. A subsequent Pew Center report will address key issues in the verification of emissions inventories and emissions reductions.

The authors and the Pew Center would like to thank the companies featured in this report for sharing their stories and insights, and acknowledge the members of the Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council, as well as Janet Raganathan and others involved in the Greenhouse Gas Measurement & Reporting Protocol Collaboration, for their review and advice on a previous draft of this report.

Executive Summary

There is great interest today in the inventorying of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by corporations — perhaps more than there has ever been for a voluntary environmental initiative. This interest is part of the general trend among corporations towards increased reporting of environmental performance. In addition, many organizations have concluded that enough is known to begin taking action now to understand, to manage, and to reduce their GHG emissions. The possibility of earning credit for taking voluntary actions to reduce emissions is also a motivating factor for many companies to conduct inventories. Conducting an inventory is a necessary first step in managing greenhouse gas emissions.

This paper provides an overview of key issues in developing greenhouse gas emissions inventories, with particular emphasis on corporate-level inventories. It illustrates the range of current activities in the field and the experience of major corporations that conduct GHG emissions inventories. Areas of general agreement, as well as unresolved issues in emissions inventorying, are described. More specifically, the paper discusses:

  • How national level emissions inventories relate to corporate and facility inventories,
  • How companies conduct their inventories,
  • Inventory accuracy,
  • How companies decide which emissions to include (drawing boundaries),
  • Baselines and metrics,
  • Challenges for corporations in conducting global inventories, and
  • Learning from similar measurement approaches.

One important issue this paper does not address is the verification of emissions inventories and emissions reductions. Verification is the subject of another paper being prepared by Arthur D. Little, Inc. for the Center.

This review of GHG emissions inventory issues is based on meetings and discussions with the Center's Business Environmental Leadership Council, a survey of selected major corporations on their greenhouse gas inventory practices, and a review of pertinent literature. It is also informed by the participation of the Center and Arthur D. Little, Inc. in a collaborative effort led by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to develop an internationally accepted protocol for conducting GHG emissions inventories.

The intent of this paper is not to advocate any specific methodology or approach for conducting GHG emissions inventories, nor to promote any particular policy positions. The review of the experience to date and issues surrounding GHG emissions inventories, however, suggests several general principles for developing effective GHG emissions inventory programs:

1. Start by understanding your emissions. Knowing the relative magnitude of emissions coming from various sources is necessary to understand whether or not they are material contributors to a firm's total emissions. Understanding the nature and the number of the emissions sources will facilitate the use of the inventory development guidance that is becoming available.

2. Understand the likely uses of the emissions inventory. Companies conduct GHG emissions inventories for purposes that range from internal goal-setting to external reporting to obtaining financial benefits. These different uses of the inventory information imply different levels of completeness, accuracy, and documentation in the inventory. Each organization will need to reach its own conclusion as to the cost/benefit balance of developing its inventory, depending upon its set of likely uses.

3. Decide carefully which emissions to include by establishing meaningful boundaries. Questions of which emissions to include in a firm's inventory and which are best accounted for elsewhere are among the most difficult aspects of establishing GHG emissions inventories. Since the purpose of conducting an inventory is to track emissions and emissions reductions, companies are encouraged to include emissions they are in a position to significantly control and to clearly communicate how they have drawn their boundaries.

4. Maximize flexibility. Since requirements to report or reduce greenhouse gas emissions under a future climate policy regime are uncertain, companies should prepare for a range of possibilities. By maximizing the flexibility in their emissions inventories — for example, by being able to track emissions by organizational unit, location, and type of emission or by expressing emissions in absolute terms or normalized for production — organizations will be prepared for a wide range of possible future scenarios.

5. Ensure transparency. Transparency in reporting how emissions and emissions reductions are arrived at is critical to achieving credibility with stakeholders. Unless the emissions baseline, estimation methods, emissions boundaries, and means of reducing emissions are adequately documented and explained in the inventory, stakeholders will not know how to interpret the results.

6. Encourage innovation. Now is the time to try innovative inventory approaches tailored to a company's particular circumstances. The range of experience and lessons learned will be invaluable as voluntary reporting protocols are developed or as possible regulatory requirements are established. Learning what works best — and doing it before any requirements for reporting are in place — will be as important as learning what does not work.

Christopher P. Loreti
Michael A. Isenberg
William F. Wescott

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options in China

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options in China

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
May 2000

Zhou Dadi, Beijing Energy Efficiency Center
Guo Yuan, China Energy Research Institute
Shi Yingyi, Beijing Energy Efficiency Center
William Chandler, Battelle, Advanced International Studies Unit
Jeffrey Logan, Battelle, Advanced International Studies Unit

Press Release

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Eileen Claussen, President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

With annual releases of over 918 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the People's Republic of China takes center stage among developing countries in the climate change debate. If China could achieve significant emission reductions from the business-as-usual scenario, particularly within the electric power sector, it could be considered a major advance in addressing climate change. Yet the task is daunting. Decision-makers must have a better understanding of the paths that are possible for electric power investment in China, and the impacts of these investments.

This report is designed to improve that understanding. It describes the context for new power sector investments and presents five alternative policy scenarios through 2015. The report presents concrete policy strategies that could enable China to meet growing electricity demand while continuing economic growth, and reducing sulfur dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions.

The principal drivers of the technology choices for the next fifteen years are:

  • Growing awareness that under a business-as-usual path, carbon emissions from thermal plants will increase from 189 million tons in 1995 to 491 million in 2015, and sulfur dioxide emissions from 8.5 million to 21 million due to the heavy reliance on coal-fired power generation.
  • Increasing demand-side energy efficiency by 10 percent from business-as-usual projections could reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by 19 and 13 percent, respectively, in 2015, while lowering cost to 12 percent below the baseline.
  • Expanding the availability of low-cost natural gas through market reforms could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the power sector by 14 and 35 percent, respectively, and increase cost by only 4 percent relative to the baseline.
  • Accelerating the penetration of cleaner coal technologies could help China reduce sulfur dioxide and particulate emissions, but the associated impact on carbon emissions would be minimal and would increase costs by 6 percent relative to the baseline.

Developing Countries and Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options in China is the fourth of a series commissioned by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions to examine the electric power sector in developing countries, including four other case studies of Korea, India, Brazil, and Argentina.

Executive Summary

China plays a leading role among developing nations in the field of energy and climate policy. The nation now ranks second in the world in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The electric power sector alone could consume as much as one billion tons of coal in 2015, and emit 300 million additional tons of carbon per year. Chinese decisions affecting energy development and emissions mitigation will significantly impact world climate. However, China currently has no formal plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions for their own sake.

China has changed dramatically since the country adopted economic reforms in the late 1970s. The nation's economy has grown and living standards have improved for over two decades. Although income per capita remains far less than in industrialized countries, its gross domestic product is large enough to affect the global economy. As the country's economy improves, China's influence will continue to grow.

China has fueled this robust growth with plentiful supplies of domestic coal. In 1997, the country consumed nearly 1.3 billion tons of coal, (accounting for three-quarters of all commercial energy demand), the highest in the world. Heavy reliance on coal has also caused severe environmental problems, including acid rain in southern China, deadly particulate levels in most cities, and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere. Yet, for two decades energy use has grown only half as fast as the economy. According to official statistics, China has recently been far more successful than the United States in improving energy efficiency.

The power sector currently accounts for more than one-third of China's annual coal consumption. Coal-fired thermal power plants generate over 75 percent of the nation's electric power and are among the largest sources of air pollution in China. Continued growth in economic output and living standards implies that electric power demand will grow rapidly in the foreseeable future. How to meet demand at least cost — including local environmental impacts — is a topic of great concern for decision-makers in government and the power industry.

This analysis, which explores China's electric power options, has three primary goals:

  • Assess the current and future state of the power sector
  • Determine the least-cost combination of technologies to meet projected power demand through 2015 under various scenarios
  • Evaluate policies that could minimize both economic and local environmental costs.

This report begins with a brief review of China's economic and energy situation, then turns to a detailed account of the nation's electric power sector. The paper assesses available energy resources and generation technologies, and results of regional electric power demand forecasts through 2015. Results are presented from an analysis using a linear programming model to determine least-cost combinations of power supply technologies that meet projected power demand in 2015. The authors constructed a baseline and five policy cases to test economic and environmental policy measures, including sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide controls, natural gas reform, clean coal investment mechanisms, and increased energy efficiency. The model simulated these scenarios by applying emissions caps, fees, cost reductions, increased fuel availability, improved plant performance, or lower demand estimates that then influence the selection of alternative technologies.

The authors conclude that without a strong environmental policy, China's electric power mix will become even more coal-dependent, with dramatic increases in emissions of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, particulates, and carbon dioxide. These emissions would have serious effects on human health, property, and ecosystems.

When policy measures such as fuel availability, technical performance, and full-cost accounting are considered, however, the mix of electric power generation technologies — if not necessarily the fuels — changes significantly. The six scenarios produced the following results:

Baseline case. Power generating capacity and power consumption are expected to nearly triple by 2015 from their values in 1995, requiring some $449 billion in total costs. In the baseline scenario, coal then provides 85 percent of power, and coal use for power generation alone would reach 1 billion tons per year. Emissions of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide from the power sector would reach roughly 20 million tons and one-half billion tons per year, respectively. This scenario assumes that the current environmental policy remains the same, which appears increasingly unlikely.

Sulfur emissions control case. Annual sulfur dioxide emissions from the power sector could be cut to 12.7 million tons by 2015 — a 40 percent reduction from the baseline level — by imposing fees ranging from $360-$960 per ton of sulfur released. Total costs using the sulfur fees would rise by 4 percent. Sulfur control policies would reduce total coal use very little but greatly increase coal washing and flue gas desulfurization. These options cost less in China than alternatives such as nuclear power, hydropower, and advanced coal technologies that reduce sulfur emissions by a comparable amount. Achieving sulfur reductions would also require stricter regulatory enforcement. However, greenhouse gas emissions would change little as a result of stricter sulfur dioxide emissions control.

Carbon control case. This scenario tested the effect of reducing carbon emissions in the power sector by 10 percent, or 50 million tons per year, by 2015. The study simulates these reductions by assuming the construction of new, less carbon-intensive power plants; it does not consider alternatives to lower emissions in existing plants. A 10 percent reduction from the baseline would add an additional $20 billion to total costs by 2015, an increase of about 4 percent. Greater reliance on washed coal, hydropower, nuclear power, and fuel switching to natural gas would be the cheapest ways of reducing emissions. Moderate carbon taxes were also tested in this analysis, but they were not found to be particularly effective in encouraging fuel switching. Only very high taxes — over $75 per ton of carbon — produced significant emissions reductions.

Natural gas case. China currently uses very little natural gas for power generation. For change to occur, the government would need to establish new policies and reforms to increase the availability of natural gas. This scenario simulates the impact of policies to boost gas use in the power sector. Increased availability of low-cost natural gas in the power sector — combined with improved turbine efficiency and a $300 fee per ton of sulfur dioxide emissions — could cut carbon and sulfur dioxide emissions by about 14 and 35 percent, respectively, from the baseline. Natural gas power in this scenario is cheaper than coal-fired power only along the coastal regions (where coal is relatively expensive), but gas would need to be available for $3 per gigajoule. This value is lower than some forecasts, but still higher than gas prices in Europe and North America. The power sector would consume approximately 65 billion cubic meters of gas, accounting for roughly half of China's total gas demand in 2015.

Clean coal case. A set of scenarios tested the effect of reducing the cost of advanced coal technologies such as integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) or pressurized fluidized bed combustion (PFBC) to help them capture additional market share relative to the baseline. A 40 percent reduction in capital costs for IGCC and PFBC, combined with a mid-level sulfur dioxide emissions fee of $300 per metric ton, would reduce carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by 9 and 75 percent, respectively. However, approximately $140 billion in additional investment — perhaps through international cooperation on technology transfer and clean development — would be required to subsidize the cost of building these plants.

Efficiency scenario. This scenario tested the effect of reducing electric power use by 10 percent compared to the baseline. Such a reduction would lower carbon and sulfur dioxide emissions by 19 percent and 13 percent, respectively, in 2015, and save $55 billion in investment and fuel costs by postponing the need for 52 gigawatts of coal-fired generation capacity. The analysis did not consider the required policies or costs to lower power demand.

These scenarios revealed two important findings:

1. Policy options exist to reduce carbon emissions substantially in the Chinese power sector at relatively low incremental cost. Emissions reductions of more than 10 percent compared to projected baseline emissions in 2015 can be achieved for less than 5 percent of the total cost of power. Continued improvement in demand-side efficiency is a particularly attractive option to lower carbon emissions.

2. Not all of these reductions will be achieved for reasons that are in China's own interest, such as reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. Consequently, cooperation with other countries would be required to achieve more dramatic results.   

Guo Yuan
Jeffrey Logan
Shi Yingyi
William Chandler
Zhou Dadi

Press Release: Climate Change Conference Reveals Innovation and Progress

For Immediate Release :
April 25, 2000

Contact: Katie Mandes (703-516-4146)
             Kelly Sullivan (202-289-5900)

Climate Change Conference Reveals Innovation and Progress Across The Private Sector Worldwide and In Many Governments

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The opening of a two-day international conference today, sponsored by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Chatham House/Royal Institute of International Affairs, served as a showcase for many of the most far-reaching innovations that businesses and governments are undertaking to address the challenge of global climate change.

"In the United States, climate change policies have been hotly debated but little action has been taken," said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "Fortunately, there is substantial progress being made — by governments abroad, businesses here and around the world and by state and local governments here at home."

To complement the conference, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change also is publishing a special supplement on climate change in tomorrow's Washington Post. Significantly, the piece includes statements by 13 Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of some of the world's leading companies, all members of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC), acknowledging that climate change is a real problem that demands action by the public and private sector.

Among these statements are:

"Enron supports market-based initiatives that create efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound energy systems," says Dr. Kenneth L. Lay, Chairman and CEO, ENRON. "As a company, we are taking steps to provide the world with clean energy solutions and implementing systems to manage greenhouse gas emissions. Our belief in the synergies between state of the art energy management practices and sound environmental policies have translated into effective pre-construction measures for our new headquarters building, which we expect will save $10 million and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000,000 lbs (or 17,000 tons) per year."

"Technology and innovation move us forward as people on earth," says George David, Chairman and CEO, United Technologies Corporation. "Environmentally benign fuel cells, built by United Technologies for every American space mission ever, may be the next great innovation to power our cars and our homes. A concerted public and private effort will make huge reductions in global climate change impacts for our nation and our world. All we need is the will."

Additional statements by the following CEOs are included in the supplement:

Göran Lindahl, President and CEO ABB Group, Dr. E. Linn Draper, Jr. Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer American Electric Power, Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Baxter International Inc., Ralph Peterson President and Chief Executive Officer CH2M Hill, Charles O. Holliday Chief Executive Officer DuPont, J. Wayne Leonard Chief Executive Officer, Entergy, Paul A. Yhouse President and CEO Holnam Inc., Robert D. Glynn, Jr. Chairman, CEO and President PG&E Corporation, Tag Taguchi, President, Toyota Motor North America, David R. Whitwam Chairman and CEO Whirlpool Corporation, Steven R. Rogel Chairman, President and CEO Weyerhaeuser Company Profiles.

Also included in the supplement are examples from these corporations highlighting their actions to mitigate climate change. Some examples include:

BP Amoco
BP Amoco believes in adopting a precautionary approach to climate change. BP Amoco intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent of 1990 levels by 2010 and has implemented a greenhouse gas emissions trading system across all its businesses to achieve this target cost effectively. Its portfolio of activities includes collaboration in research and policy development, growing its solar business and promoting flexible market instruments.

By 2010 DuPont intends to reduce global carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent and hold energy use flat - in both instances using 1990 as a base year. The company also plans to be using renewable resources for ten percent of global energy use by 2010.

Featured speakers at the conference include:

  • John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, United Kingdom
  • Jan Pronk, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Netherlands
  • Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Australia
  • Theodore Roosevelt, IV, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers, Inc.
  • Rodney Chase, Deputy Group Chief Executive, BP Amoco

T he Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the nation's largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the U.S. environment. The Pew Center is conducting studies, launching public education efforts, promoting climate change solutions globally and working with businesses to develop marketplace solutions to reduce greenhouse gases. The Pew Center is led by Eileen Claussen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

The Pew Center includes the Business Environmental Leadership Council, which is composed of 21 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations working with the Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Center, which is solely supported by charitable foundations.

More information on climate change and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, can be found at

Innovative Policy Solutions to Global Climate Change Conference

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 

April 25-26, 2000 - Washington, D.C.

This conference featured high-level speakers presenting innovative policy measures being implemented by industrialized country governments and the private sector. Conference topics were common policy approaches (taxes, trading, negotiated agreements), cross-cutting issues (competitiveness and trade), energy and transportation sector policies, and state and local programs.  A conference summary is available in PDF format.

Featured speeches are available in PDF format:

  • John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, United Kingdom
  • Jan Pronk, Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, The Netherlands
  • Robert Hill, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Australia
  • Theodore Roosevelt, IV, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers, Inc.
  • Rodney Chase, Deputy Group Chief Executive, BP Amoco

Conference Press Release


The conference was co-hosted by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Chatham House / Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), a leading institute for the analysis of international issues, based in London. The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), also known as Chatham House, is a leading institute for the analysis of international issues. Founded in 1920 in London, RIIA stimulates debate and research on political, business, security, and other key issues in the international arena, such as energy and environmental policy issues, primarily through its research, meetings, conferences, and publications. Visit for more information.

Roundtable Sponsors:

The Developing Country Perspectives Roundtable was co-sponsored by the Pew Center and the Shell Foundation Sustainable Energy Programme. The Sustainable Energy Programme (SEP) is the major grant-making programme of the Shell Foundation, both of which will be formally launching on June 5th, 2000. SEP provides grants to groups working in the public interest on projects that tackle two fundamental energy-related issues: the environmental impact of our dependence on fossil fuels, and the link between energy and poverty in developing countries. More information can be found at

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options in India

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options in India

Prepared for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change
October 1999

P.R. Shukla, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
William Chandler, Battelle, Advanced International Studies Unit
Debyani Ghosh, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Jeffrey Logan, Battelle, Advanced International Studies Unit

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Eileen Claussen, Executive Director, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

The electric power sector in India is characterized by low per capita energy use, rapid growth in demand, heavy losses in transmission and distribution, and tariffs well below average costs. Coal dominates usage, which combined with hydropower represents 85 percent of generated power. The power sector is responsible for half of India's carbon dioxide emissions, which were 92 million tons in 1995. Even with the prospect of market and industrial reforms, the 'business-as-usual' path for India in 2015 increases both generating capacity and carbon dioxide emissions by around 150 percent over 1995 levels. But the scenarios modeled in this study show that growth in emissions can be reduced to only 60 percent greater than 1995 if progressive sustainable development policies are implemented.

What are the drivers that will influence future technology choices in India?

  • The ability of India's power producers to fuel-switch and lower carbon dioxide emissions is heavily dependent on the availability and cost of alternative fuels (especially natural gas). In the scenario simulating stricter local environmental controls, this restriction steers decision-makers to sulfur control equipment and does not necessarily lead to reductions in coal use. On the other hand, striving to attain sustainable development goals can reduce costs and capacity needs, and achieve the most dramatic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Market reforms can lower costs by 11 percent and carbon emissions by 7 percent through a reduction in the need to build more power plants through increased supply efficiency and earlier availability of new technologies.
  • More widespread adoption of cost-effective energy efficiency measures could also reduce carbon emissions by 23 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions by 60 percent, by reducing demand for power by around 15 percent.

Developing Countries and Global Climate Change: Electric Power Choices in India is the third in a series examining the electric power sectors in developing countries, including four other case studies of Korea, China, Brazil, and Argentina. The reports findings are based on a lifecycle cost analysis of several possible alternatives to current projections for expanding the power system.

The Pew Center was established in 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts to bring a new cooperative approach and critical scientific, economic, and technological expertise to the global climate change debate. The Pew Center believes that climate change is serious business and a better understanding of circumstances in individual countries helps achieve a serious response.

Executive Summary

Electricity consumption in India has more than doubled in the last decade, outpacing economic growth. The power sector now consumes 40 percent of primary energy and 70 percent of coal use. This sector is the single largest consumer of capital, drawing over one-sixth of all Indian investments over the past decade. Despite these huge expenditures, electricity demand continues to outstrip power generating capacity, leaving a 12 percent electricity deficit and a 20 percent peak power shortage.

The government has assumed the predominant role in electricity supply in the post-independence era. State electricity boards (SEBs) and power corporations plan and govern power plants financed with state funds. SEBs in particular are wide open to political influence and tariff distortions. Operational inefficiencies grew in the absence of competition and financial discipline, undermining the power sectors financial health. By the early 1990s, the sector was overdue for sweeping reforms to enhance revenues and mobilize investment in the short run, and to change ownership and the regulatory structure in the long run. Reforms underway fall broadly into the categories of SEB corporatization, privatization of power corporations, unbundling (vertical divestiture), and regulatory restructuring.

Despite enhanced competition from other fuels, coal remains the mainstay of power generation in India. The present power technology mix relies on domestic coal to provide three-fifths of the countrys power; large hydroelectric dams provide about one-quarter. Gas-fired power has grown from almost nothing to one-twelfth of total generation in the last decade due to the reduced risk associated with lower capital requirements, shorter construction periods, diminished environmental impacts, and higher efficiencies. Nuclear power contributes less than 3 percent to total generation and renewables (other than large hydro) just over 1 percent. India has a significant program to support renewable power, exemplified by wind power capacity that rose from 41 megawatts in 1992 to 1,025 megawatts in 1999.

Power transmission and distribution has suffered from losses amounting to over one-fifth of generated electricity, more than double the level of most countries. An institutional restructuring process began in 1989 to consolidate various suppliers and distributors under an agency called "Powergrid." Faced with unreliable power supply, many industries have invested in on-site power generation that now accounts for 12 percent of total capacity.

The phenomenal rise in agricultural electricity consumption is due to greater irrigation demand by new crop varieties and the very low price of electricity provided to that sector. The average electricity tariff in India is 20 percent below the average cost of supply. The gap is mainly due to subsidized rates for agriculture. Industrial consumers pay higher costs and provide a cross-subsidy that was worth over US$5 billion in 1997, equal to almost half of power sector investments that year.

Concerns about the environmental impacts of power plant projects have grown in the past twenty years. The power sector contributes about half of Indias carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen oxide emissions. Hydroelectric projects also have generated social concerns. Dam construction has forced the relocation of many Indians, a problem the government has handled poorly. Managing environmental and social impacts has therefore drawn considerable attention in policy-making, project development, and operations. 

Debyani Ghosh
Jeffrey Logan
P.R. Shukla
William Chandler

Early Action Conference

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 

Early Action Conference

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, in cooperation with The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, held a conference to explore the subject of credit for early action. The conference featured a keynote address by DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dennis H. Reilley, announcing the company's rigorous new greenhouse gas reduction targets. Another conference highlight was luncheon speaker Robert Luft, Chairman of Entergy Corp., speaking on the importance of an early action crediting program in the United States to facilitate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The conference offered an overview of the early action issue from the perspectives of various industry sectors (including oil and gas, and manufacturing), electric utility, Congressional staff, state and city government; a review of current proposals; and roundtable discussions of the legal, policy, and technical issues that confront the architects of early action programs. Valuable participation by the audience contributed to a balanced and well-informed discussion.

Keynote Address by Dennis H. Reilley
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, DuPont

DuPont Announcement Press Release

Luncheon Speech by Robert Luft
Chairman, Entergy Corp.

Pew Center Early Action Report

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options for Growth

Developing Countries & Global Climate Change: Electric Power Options for Growth

June 1999

By: Mark Bernstein, Pam Bromley, Jeff Hagen, Scott Hassell, Robert Lempert, Jorge Munoz, David Robalino, RAND

Press Release

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Eileen Claussen, Executive Director, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Understanding the possibilities for greenhouse gas emission reductions in developing countriescan inform the debate over long-term equitable commitments and global participation in a climate change regime. This study investigates policy and technology choices in the electric power sector that can lower carbon dioxide and other air emissions, while maintaining or improving economic growth.

The standard projection shows electric sector CO2 emissions in developing countries nearly tripling over the next twenty years as a result of investments of approximately $1.7 trillion. This sector already represents 10 percent of global emissions. The study presents four alternative paths for new power generation that could maintain economic growth and reduce new emissions to levels below this projection:

  • Including the costs of electricity delivery - not just generation - makes planning and investment decisions more efficient and makes distributed renewable energy more viable, decreasing CO2 emissions by up to 2.5 percent;
  • Increasing privatization of the electricity sector could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 1 percent and boost economic benefits by up to 5 percent;
  • Using low-emissions technologies - for example, increasing the use of natural gas and renew-ables - could reduce CO2 emissions by almost 25 percent while producing the same economic benefits; and
  • Increasing the efficiency of electricity supply and demand could reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 10 percent in one scenario.

T hese findings were based on an aggregated analysis and may not hold for individual countries.For similar benefits to accrue, specific reforms that account for national conditions would have to be implemented in each country. Countries could also participate in the Clean Development Mechanism to increase the available up-front financing to accomplish these reforms.

This report is the fourth in a series by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions examining policy questions both domestically and internationally. Five case studies - evaluating electric power options in more detail - will be published for Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and the Republic of Korea.

The Pew Center was established in 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts to bring a new coopera-tive approach and critical scientific, economic, and technological expertise to the global climate change debate. The Pew Center and its Business Environmental Leadership Council believe that climate change is serious business. Better understanding of those sensible actions that reduce emissions without hurt-ing the economy brings us closer to a serious solution.

Executive Summary

In 1995, 34 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions were produced by electric power generation, approximately one-third of which came from developing countries. Between 1995 and 2020, developing countries will invest roughly $1.7 trillion building 50 percent of all new global power generation capacity. If these investments are made according to business-as-usual (BAU) investment trends, CO2 emissions from developing country power generation will nearly triple their 1995 levels within 20 years.

This report presents the results of a RAND study that suggests that BAU investment trends are not the only path to strong economic growth. If developing countries adopt different policies and plan-ning methods for their power generation sectors, technologies other than those included in BAU projec-tions could provide lower local and global environmental impacts and produce similar or even higher economic benefits. This study compared the possible impacts that different policies and technology mixes could have on economic growth, air pollution, and CO2 emissions from new electric power genera-tion in developing countries.

In order to consistently and quantitatively examine the economic and environmental impacts of different policies and mixes of power generation technologies, this study developed a simulation model that sought to capture the macro-level relationships between electric power generation, economic growth, and capital investment in the world's developing countries. The simulation model was used to compare current forecasts and BAU trends for electric power to several policy alternatives that also met projected capacity needs. The policy alternatives investigated in this study were: the inclusion of infra-structure costs in new capacity investment decisions; the acceleration of private-sector participation in power generation; the use of low-emissions technologies; and improvements in energy efficiency.

Figure ES-1 presents the range of potential CO2 emissions based on this study's findings. The upper bound of this range shows that accelerated privatization could, under some circumstances, increase new CO2 emissions up to 20 percent relative to BAU investment trends that include infrastruc-ture costs. Other scenarios could decrease the expected growth. Low-emissions technologies could reduce that growth by almost half.


Turning Down the Heat: Finding Solutions for Global Warming

Turning Down the Heat: Finding Solutions for Global Warming

April 22, 1999

Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to speak here in this idyllic setting, with the White River and the mountains, truly a perfect backdrop for Earth Day 1999. The subject of the program Turning Down the Heat: Finding Solutions for Global Warming is also ideal. Addressing global warming will be one of the great challenges of the 21st century, a challenge that must be met by both my generation and your generation. It is clearly a multi-year and multi-generation task - and a topic where even the best minds may have difficulty charting a sustained and effective course. But for us to begin on the path toward solutions, we should start with a modest list of needs:

First, we need to begin with a realistic assessment of where we are in addressing this issue, both nationally and internationally;

Second, we need to begin now to seriously reduce our greenhouse gas emissions;

Third, we need to chart a course for a long term response, and begin laying the groundwork for that response; and

Finally, we need to muster the will to stay the course until we are successful in meeting the challenges of global warming.

My less than optimistic view is that we are far from coming to grips with this issue, both as a nation and as a world. And we certainly have not yet shown that we have the will to stay the course. In fact, I think the best way to illustrate our situation would be to think briefly of a painting by Pieter Brueghel titled "The Fall of Icarus." As many of you know, in Greek mythology, Icarus is the son of Daedulus, an architect and inventor who developed the labyrinth. When Daedulus and Icarus were later imprisoned in the labyrinth, Daedulus created wings of wax for both himself and his son so they could escape. They managed to flee the labyrinth and flew away. But Icarus, failing to heed his father's advice, flew too close to the sun, his wings melted, and he fell into the sea and drowned. In the Brueghel painting, as Icarus falls into the sea, no one pays any attention. The ploughman continues ploughing his field, the ship does not come to the rescue. If there is a disaster, it is someone else's disaster, and does not warrant a change in course. Well, Icarus we shouldn't be; the ploughman we cannot be.

So let us begin with a realistic assessment of where we are, and then perhaps we can chart a course for change.

Where We Are

Beginning with the science, which is the basis for dealing with this issue, I believe we can simply say that sufficient scientific knowledge exists that supports taking action. The world's best scientists agree that the earth will warm somewhere between 1.5 and 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. They also agree that that warming will have significant impacts on the world in which we live: sea level is projected to rise between 6 and 37 inches, because water expands when heated, and because some glacial ice will melt. In addition, we can expect to lose some ecosystems, stress our already depleted water supplies, see our crop production and agricultural practices change with regional consequences, and see increases in the spread of infectious disease. Extreme weather events may also increase in frequency. Most scientists also agree that rising temperatures can be attributed, at least in part, to human activity, and, absent any effort to alter that human activity, will only result in greater temperature increases over time.

But this emerging consensus of concern has not resulted in a similar consensus for action. While it is true that opinion polls in the United States and globally suggest, by a strong margin, that the public believes that global warming is a serious issue, it is still not high on either national or global agendas. And this view is confirmed and strengthened in a survey of opinion leaders done recently for the Pew Center. In this research, completed in January of 1999, we found that 68 percent of opinion leaders (based on a sample drawn from the 1998 edition of Who's Who) believe that global warming represents a serious threat, and 61 percent are of the view that it is happening now. Seventy-six percent of these opinion leaders also believed that the United States should reduce emissions even in the absence of action by other countries, a conclusion that is supported across party lines. The strongest reasons for taking action include the desire to leave a legacy for future generations, and avoiding human suffering, and ecosystem loss.

In partial response to green public opinion, discussions of global climate change in Europe have been more constant and more politically charged than in the U.S.. And European governments have taken a more aggressive stand in the international negotiating process. But even in Europe, actions have not equaled words. Most EU governments continue to struggle with making significant reductions (beyond those garnered from loss of the industrial base in the former East Germany, or the phasing down of coal use in the United Kingdom), and some expect their emissions to grow substantially. In the United States, the debate is highly polarized, and the Administration and the Congress have been unable to agree on either a program to slow the growth in greenhouse gases, or on the funding needed for climate technology development.

But on neither continent (and certainly not in other parts of the world) has the public's concern been translated into public action. Consumer automobile purchases reflect low gasoline prices, and not the need to reduce carbon emissions. Green energy markets (where non-fossil energy is supplied) are beginning to grow, but consumer purchasing of green power still remains a choice of the few and not the many.

This lack of public will translates easily into a lack of political leadership. For while the Kyoto Protocol was agreed in December 1997, with an overall 5 percent reduction below 1990 levels to be achieved by 2012, government consultations on implementation of the agreement have been slow and contentious. The European Union, for example, has chosen to use these ongoing negotiations to redefine some of the basic parameters that were agreed in Kyoto, while the United States has indicated that it will not make any attempt to ratify the agreement until other agreements (that further define the Kyoto market mechanisms and that more deeply involve developing countries) are completed. The work plan agreed to in Buenos Aires in November 1998 contains over 152 separate items - an indication that not that much - or at least not enough -- was actually agreed the year before in Kyoto.

But if this picture looks bleak - with a concerned, but unmotivated public and a lack of leadership from governments - it is important to note that some shifts in behavior have actually occurred over the past year. In the United States, this shift can be seen in two ways. Most importantly, some in the private sector have begun to take significant actions to deal with their own emissions. BP Amoco, for example, has set a target to reduce its own emissions by 10% below 1990 levels by the year 2010. Shell International has a target of 10% below 1990 levels by 2002. United Technologies has committed to reduce its energy and water consumption per dollar of sales by 25% below 1997 levels by 2007. DuPont will reduce it global greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 1991 levels by 2000. And Baxter International has reduced the global warming impact of its emissions by 81% since 1990. All 21 companies affiliated with the Pew Center on Global Climate Change are beginning to inventory their emissions and assess their opportunities for emission reductions. And while these companies are the exception rather than the norm, they do reflect a change - and a beginning.

I believe that we are also seeing a change up on Capitol Hill. At the beginning of this year, 12 Senators from across the political spectrum, including Senators Chaffee, Lieberman, Mack, Voinovich, Jeffords, Baucus, and Warner, introduced a climate change bill that would provide credit to companies that reduce their emissions when a regulatory program to control greenhouse gas emissions is enacted. Senators Murkowski, and Hagel are considering legislation that would provide incentives for technology research and development. It is also likely that we will see bills dealing with climate change introduced in the House over the next several months. So while these bills represent a wide range of views, they do indicate a change of tone and substance - the Congress recognizes that climate change is an issue that cannot be avoided and it is at the table thinking about possible solutions. And as I mentioned earlier, support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions even outside of an international agreement, is supported by opinion leaders without regard to political party.

A Short Term Plan

Addressing the climate change issue will require actions both in the short term and the long term - in the short term because without early and constant action we will not be able to address all of our long-term concerns. I would like to suggest that there are at least four items we can tackle now.

First and foremost, we should try to put in place a straightforward system to give credit to those corporations and entities that want to take early action to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We should not force progressive companies to make a choice, on the one hand, of investing in emission reducing technology now and risk being punished for it later, or, on the other hand, to forego investment to develop or install climate friendly technology for a decade or more. Failure to adopt a program to give credit for early action will essentially compel industry to defer action to avoid the uncertainty of how their actions will be treated by the government when more comprehensive programs are put in place.

Congress should step up to this issue and provide a legislative framework that will allow industry to undertake the emission reductions that will change our current course of emissions growth and result in a downward emissions trend. Of course I do not want to paper over some of the difficult questions that must be answered if we are to have an effective credit for early action program. How do we assure that the reductions that are credited are real and verified? How do we provide enough of an incentive for action, and yet do not over-mortgage the budget allocation for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol should it be ratified and enter into force? And how should we handle high-growth sectors, where emissions per unit of output may be significantly decreased, but where overall company-wide emissions may rise with vastly increased output? I would simply argue that these questions are all relevant for future carbon control activities, and we would do well to begin to work on the answers now.

It is also critical in the short term that we put in place programs and incentives for the development and diffusion of clean, green technologies. While it is important to take account of sectoral capital cycles, it is also important that we do not readily accept future investments in equipment that is not climate-friendly where alternatives are available. Such an effort should start now, but should not be geared to short term investments. Consider the 50 plus year lifetimes of power generation equipment, heating and cooling systems, and aircraft. Or consider the lifetime of simple refrigerators and freezers, where efficiencies have improved approximately 70 percent over the past 10 years, but where the old appliances still predominate in U.S. households.

As we move forward on a lower emissions path, and as we begin to invest in cleaner technologies, we must also focus our analytical efforts on developing sound methodologies and experimenting with new policy approaches. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that the requirements for addressing global climate change are simple, or even that we have a full understanding of those requirements. If we are to support carbon sequestration in trees and soils, obviously a sensible thing to do, we must develop accurate baselines and accounting systems. If we wish to control all greenhouse gases, we will need to significantly improve our ability to count those emissions in ways that can easily be monitored and verified. As we move toward establishing corporate baselines and conducting inventories, we need to deal with issues ranging from how to account for baseline changes as a result of mergers and acquisitions to whether to include employee travel as part of company-wide emissions reduction plans.

And the learning required does not stop with methodological issues. While we may have successfully implemented a sulfur dioxide emissions trading program in the United States, this does not mean that we have fully assessed what might be required for a greenhouse gas system with inter-gas, intra-company, inter-company and inter-country trading. In fact, one of the most interesting experiments now being conducted is the BP Amoco intra-company trading program, a multi-country, multi-facility effort that has already seen five trades completed at an average price of less than $20/ton. But more experimentation and learning is necessary if we are to launch a system for the global control of all greenhouse gases that will not only reduce emissions, but will do so in a manner that supports a growing global economy.

Long Term Needs

Of course no amount of short-term activity will be sufficient for dealing with what is clearly a long-term issue. We are, after all, dealing with greenhouse gases that accumulate over decades and stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years. So I would suggest that we also begin to focus on three longer term needs: the need to build stronger international capacity to deal with climate change; the need to build global institutions capable of handling topics ranging from Clean Development Mechanism projects to monitoring, verification and compliance activities; and the need to resolve global participation concerns in ways that balance effectiveness and equity.

Negotiating a regime for the control of greenhouse gas emissions and then implementing that regime on both international and national levels are highly complex tasks. Yet the capacity of most countries, particularly in the developing world, is limited. An international system is only as good as the national systems that support it. If enough nations do not implement policies to achieve their negotiated emission reductions, then globally we will not meet our targets. If there are doubts whether some nations' reductions and calculations are real, then trading markets will suffer and compliance on the part of other countries is at risk. Help with building this kind of national capacity is necessary if we are to lay the groundwork for international implementation, and we should begin now to engage this task.

And international implementation requires strong, credible and lean institutions. While some believe that most countries comply most of the time with most international treaties, reality requires that there are institutions that build trust among countries, that minimize free riders, and that maximize the incentives to comply. These institutions do so by developing methodologies, and providing assistance with implementation. They do so by developing clear, transparent processes rather than black boxes. And they do so by being both effective and efficient, a must in a climate control regime where we will likely see the creation of a competitive market for trade in emissions reductions.

But these national and international systems will only be useful if equitable participation in the international agreement is established. Global carbon dioxide emissions totaled about 28 billion metric tons in 1995. The United States is the largest emitter of these gases, both historically and currently. We are also very high on the scale of emissions per person. If we go back to 1950, our cumulative carbon emissions total 180 billion tons. Russia, the number 2 emitter, is 2/3 less, followed by China, Germany and Japan. To get more personal about it, our emissions amount to about 19 tons per person per year. But per capita emissions are 12 tons in Russia, 10 tons in Germany, 9 tons in Japan, 2 ½ tons in China, and less than ½ ton in Kenya.

For now, only 39 countries - albeit 39 of the higher emitting countries - are required to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. But just as there are wide disparities among countries in terms of responsibility for carbon emissions, so also are there wide disparities in the ability to pay for reductions, and the opportunities countries have for making reductions without reducing economic growth. Annual GDP per capita calculations using purchasing power parity vary from $460 to $26,000, the latter being more than $460 per week. In fact, the world's three richest individuals hold assets that are greater than the combined wealth of the 48 poorest countries. Developed countries are ½ as energy intense (measured in terms of energy used per unit of GDP) as developing countries, which are, in turn, ½ as energy intense as the Eastern European/Former Soviet Union countries.

Yet to find solutions to global warming, most countries will have to participate in a global regime. Finding an appropriate metric for the equitable distribution of the burden will be a most difficult task, one that has not been joined in the international negotiating process in a thoughtful and thorough manner. In fact, the United States has insisted on developing country participation - not an unreasonable position if solutions to the problem are to be found, and the developing world has insisted on the lead being taken by the developed world, also not an unreasonable position, and one that is consistent with the Framework Convention on Climate Change. What remains, and what is essential, is to come to some accommodation on what can be achieved both politically and practically to satisfy both equity and effectiveness concerns. It is not too early to begin this dialogue now.

Staying the Course

Of course, finding solutions to the climate change issue will require sustained effort over decades - on the part of governments, who must establish the rules and modify them as we learn more of the science, and as technological solutions begin to manifest themselves; on the part of industry, who must innovate, manufacture, and operate under a new paradigm where climate change will drive many decisions; and on the part of the public, who must also switch to a more climate-friendly path in their purchases and in their lifestyles. Can we muster the will to meet this challenge, and can we stay the course, knowing that it will be difficult and convoluted at times?

To stir your thinking, I would like to offer this quote from Alice in Wonderland, where Alice asks the Cheshire Cat: "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where---" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "---so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if only you walk long enough."

Well, we can't afford to walk long enough. We must know where we are going, and we must begin on the path to solutions. Today. 

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