In our previous blog post, we introduced community emission inventories. In this article, we are examining the Global Protocol for Community-scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories (GPC) in greater detail. Specifically, we will look at how you need to categorise your emissions into sectors and scopes.
We recommend that you read our introductory article first to get a basic understanding of GPC inventories.
Categorising emission sources
When you develop a GPC inventory, you need to make sure to report emissions under the right sector and sub-sector.
According to the GPC, carbon emissions from city activities are categorised into six main sectors. Sectors are the topmost categorisation of city-wide carbon emission sources. The sectors are as follows:
- Stationary energy
- Industrial processes and product use
- Agriculture, forestry and other land use
- Other scope 3 emissions
Sometimes, it can be tricky to decide whether an emission source goes under waste or stationary energy, or whether it goes under stationary energy or industrial processes. It can also be tricky to know where to account for the electricity used to charge electric vehicles and making sure that this is not double-counted under both the stationary and transportation sectors. The GPC provides guidance around these issues.
Sub-sectors are divisions that make up a sector (e.g., residential buildings, or transport modes such as on-road or railways). The following lists show the sub-sectors supporting the main sectors.
Stationary energy is emission sources like electricity and natural gas consumption. This sector is divided into:
- Residential buildings
- Commercial and institutional buildings
- Manufacturing industries and construction
- Energy industries
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing activities
- Fugitive emissions
Transportation comprises emissions from private and public transport on land, sea or in the air. This sector is divided into:
- Waterborne navigation
Waste emissions come from the decomposition of organic materials when waste goes to landfill, is being composted/anaerobically digested or incinerated. Greenhouse gases from waste also include emissions from wastewater. The waste sector is divided into:
- Solid waste disposal (waste going to landfill)
- Biological treatment (like composting or anaerobic digestion)
- Incineration and open burning
Industrial processes and product use (IPPU)
This sector is particularly important for cities with a lot of industry. This sector is divided into:
- Industrial processes (comprises of carbon emissions not associated with energy use, e.g. production of mineral products, chemicals or metals)
- Product use (entails the usage of products that emit greenhouse gases, like air conditioning equipment that releases refrigerants during its operation and when dismantled improperly, or using lubricants and oils)
Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU)
Emissions from AFOLU are the most difficult to estimate. This sector is divided into:
- Livestock (digestion and manure of animals like cows and sheep)
- Land (e.g. clearing of forests)
- Aggregate sources (e.g. rice cultivation, fertiliser usage)
Other Scope 3
A limited number of scope 3 emission sources are included in the five sectors listed above. However, this particular sector encompasses all other scope 3 emissions, like embedded emissions in consumed goods and services.
You can report on other scope 3 emission sources optionally but must not include it in BASIC/BASIC+ totals (Part 3 of this blog series goes into the details of BASIC and BASIC+). It is expected that additional guidance will be released at a later date on how to account for other scope 3 emissions.
This sector contains mainly:
- Embedded emissions in consumed products and services produced outside of the city boundary
You can use sub-categories to further split up sub-sectors, such as vehicle types within the sub-sector of each transport mode (e.g. passenger vehicles) or building types within the stationary energy sector. Sub-categories can help you improve the quality of your inventory and identify suitable mitigation actions.
Categorising emissions by scope
Categorising emissions by scope is similar to the framework used in the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard. While the Corporate Standard classifies emission sources into scopes depending on the operational boundaries of an organisation, the GPC classifies emissions sources depending on whether they occur within or outside city boundaries.
Like the GHG Protocol, the GPC classifies scopes into scope 1, 2 or 3. Table 1 below shows the definition of the scopes and gives examples.
It is challenging to develop carbon footprints that are in alignment with the GPC. Sometimes, it is easier to get the help of an expert who can guide you through the process. Here at 100% Renewables, we are certified City Climate Planners, proving our experience in community-level GHG emissions inventory accounting.
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