How do we track carbon emissions?



  1. 0 Votes

    Carbon emissions are measured by monitoring changes in the chemical content of air within the Earth’s atmosphere. The NOAA Earth Research laboratory recently unveiled a new tool for tracking and monitoring carbon emissions, by both region and source. Named the Carbontracker, the device can be used by companies, organizations or individuals, and this can allow users to measure and evaluate the effectiveness with which they are decreasing emission amounts. 

    • 0 Votes

      You’ve answered a few questions in one here. So just to avoid confusion…

      Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations (stocks) are measured in parts per million per volume of air by such methods as NOAA and various government entities apply.

      Greenhouse gas emissions (flows) are measured in terms of weights of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-e).

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    The UNFCCC tracks global emissions and governments track national emissions.

    Most nations report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually to the UNFCCC following detailed reporting and measurement rules. This is a highly sophisticated process and requires much scientific and measurement expertise and many specialists.

    For an example of annual reports, see New Zealand’s latest report at the link below.

    Six GHGs are included and there is a process for measuring the impact of forests.

    Importantly, many businesses and organisations are now tracking their emissions as well and sharing the data annually through mechanisms such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). See link below.

    Tracking emissions effectively at whatever level (i.e. for a country, organisation, business, person) is a sophisticated process and requires professional support.

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    The most recent advances in carbon emission tracking is by a project called the Vulcan Project. Vulcan is funded by NASA, the Department of Energy, and several U.S. universities, and is able to quantify CO2 emissions at the city level, factory level, and is currently refining down to the building level. Below is a link showing Vulcan tracking results:

    Carbon emissions are particularly tricky to track because once they’re emitted from a source, we’ve never known exactly where they go. Vulcan is able to provide snapshots of emissions that they piece together into data trends.

  4. 0 Votes

    Carbon emissions are measured by monitoring changes in the chemical content of air within the Earth’s….

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