Press Release: Report Highlights Lessons Learned from Corporate Efforts to Verify Greenhouse Gas Emissions

For Immediate Release:  
October 25, 2001

Contact: Katie Mandes
703-516-4146

Report Highlights Lessons Learned from Corporate Efforts to Verify Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Washington, DC - As international negotiators gather in Marrakech, Morocco, this month for the latest round of talks on climate change, the issue of how to count, track and verify greenhouse gas emissions will be a key focus. According to a new report released today by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, leading companies throughout the world are developing a range of innovative approaches that hold critical lessons for the development of emissions verification regimes at all levels. "It is for good reason that the commodities that are bought and sold in the emerging greenhouse gas emissions trading market are referred to as 'verified emissions reductions,'" said Eileen Claussen, President of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "Verification is absolutely essential to the emergence of a viable emissions market-and, in turn-a viable and effective response to climate change."

The Pew Center report, An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verification Issues, describes leading companies' efforts to verify their greenhouse gas emissions and emissions reductions. Authored by a team from Arthur D. Little, Inc., the report addresses the experiences of individual firms, the approaches to verification embodied in various greenhouse gas programs sponsored by governments and non-governmental organizations, and the factors that drive verification. The authors also review general verification issues, including who should verify, what should be verified, and when verification should occur.

Veni, Vidi, Verify

Emissions verification refers to the assessment of the completeness, accuracy, and conformance with established criteria of reported greenhouse gas emissions and emissions reductions. As increasing numbers of companies track and report their emissions, commit to emissions reduction targets, and engage in emissions trading, verification will play a vital role in ensuring that companies, governments, and others have the accurate information they need to make true progress in reducing emissions.

"Stakeholders and potential trading partners need to know that their reported emissions and reductions are real," said Claussen. "And, while we have not yet established uniform approaches to verifying greenhouse gas emissions, there is a great deal we can learn from the evolving medley of corporate, governmental, and non-governmental initiatives."

The report also issues a series of recommendations for companies and other organizations that are weighing the best approaches to verification:

  • Conduct an emissions inventory as if it is going to be verified, regardless of whether your organization is planning to verify it;
  • Be clear on the purpose of emissions verification, so that all stakeholders who rely on the results will be satisfied with how it's done;
  • Choose verifiers carefully-be sure they understand your organization, its type of business, and its emissions; and
  • Learn from the verification experience-use it to improve your inventory process, to enhance the reliability of reported information, and to facilitate future verification.

Part of "Solutions" Series

An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verification Issues was authored by Christopher Loreti, Scot Foster, and Jane Obbagy of Arthur D. Little, Inc. The report builds on last year's Pew Center report, An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Issues, which offered a set of principles for conducting greenhouse gas inventories. Both of these reports are part of the Pew Center's Solutions series, which is aimed at providing individuals and organizations with tools to evaluate and reduce their contributions to climate change. Other Pew Center series focus on domestic and international policy issues, environmental impacts, and the economics of climate change.

A complete copy of this report -- and previous Pew Center reports -- is available on the Pew Center's web site, An Overview of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Verification Issues.

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The Pew Center was established in May 1998 by the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the United States' largest philanthropies and an influential voice in efforts to improve the quality of the environment. The Pew Center is conducting studies, launching public education efforts and working with businesses to develop market-oriented 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 36 major, largely Fortune 500 corporations all working with the Pew Center to address issues related to climate change. The companies do not contribute financially to the Pew Center - it is solely supported by contributions from charitable foundations.