Media coverage of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest Synthesis Report rightly focused on its unprecedentedly dire warnings about climate change and the actions required to mitigate the worst of its effects, including the recommended phase out of fossil fuels by 2100.
One aspect of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) that, though it may not be making any headlines, will impact companies’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting practices, is the publication of updated Global Warming Potential (GWP) values.
GWPs are used to estimate the climate change impacts of various GHG emissions and express them in a single unit – carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) – and are therefore a critical element for reporting companies to take into consideration.
Best practice dictates that the most recent GWP values should be applied in emissions calculations as they reflect the most up to date representation of the global warming effect of GHG emitting activities. However, while some accounting and reporting standards have started requiring the use of AR5 GWPs, various reporting schemes are still lagging behind, and the main voluntary accounting and reporting standards have thus far remained mute on the subject of which set of GWP values in AR5 to apply, leaving it up to companies to determine the path to follow.
The following paper aims to help companies understand whether or not they should apply AR5 GWPs by presenting a few key facts about GWPs and the reasons behind their update, their impacts on GHG inventories and an overview of their adoption by accounting and reporting standards.
The full paper can be downloaded by using the link below: