Image: A wind farm in West Texas. By making emissions data available in a centralized registry, the Carbon Registry can inform organizations’ emission reductions strategies. Image From: Mattew T Rader
Audio Editing by: Wangyuxuan Xu Blurb by: Elizabeth Sherstinsky Script by: Sophie Wenzlau
What are carbon registries?
Carbon registries work with companies, organizations, and government agencies to identify, measure, and report their greenhouse gas emissions. The data can be used to support emission reduction efforts by these entities, both voluntary reductions or those required by regulation. Carbon registry data can also be used to identify entities with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon registries enable members to identify specific emissions reduction opportunities, save on fuel and energy costs through increased efficiency, and comply with current or anticipated regulations. In addition, making carbon registry data transparent can demonstrate public accountability and climate leadership. But, unless there are legal obligations to report emissions, reporting is voluntary, likely missing major emitters. And data does not necessarily mean action; data collection and transparency can be a form of “greenwashing” when not followed by constructive action.
What is The Climate Registry?
The Climate Registry (TCR) is a non-profit organization that provides tools for North American companies, government agencies, non-profits, and universities to more fully understand their GHG emissions. TCR tracks the sources of members’ greenhouse gas emissions and tabulates how many tons of each greenhouse gas they emit. With this information, packaged for laypeople and easily accessible, members can better understand how they might reduce these emissions. In addition, TCR ranks organizations by awarding “all-star”, “platinum” and “gold” rankings, based on an evaluation of their commitment to emission reduction. TCR is advised by a Council of Jurisdictions including representatives from diverse U.S. states, Native nations, and Canadian provinces and territories. It began as the California Climate Action Registry (CCAR), developed by the state of California to help businesses track their emissions. Recognizing that climate change is a threat that ignores borders, TCR expanded to include the entirety of North America. This broader jurisdiction provides a way to see and compare data from hundreds of organizations in one place, with the same reporting protocols and data-collection methods employed. In addition to a carbon registry, TCR maintains a separate water-energy nexus registry.
Who is Dan Krekelberg?
Dan Krekelberg is policy director at The Climate Registry. He has over a decade of experience leading the development of programs working to improve the sustainability of communities and organizations. He oversees accounting, reporting, and verification initiatives at The Climate Registry, as well as programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ethan: I’m Ethan Elkind, and you’re listening to Climate Break. Climate solutions in a hurry. Today’s proposal: helping organizations and agencies track their greenhouse gas emissions so they can understand how best to reduce them. We spoke to Dan Krekelberg, policy director at Climate Registry, at the recent UN climate conference in Egypt. He discussed the role that so-called carbon registries can play in the fight against climate change.
Dan: We operate as a voluntary registry to take in greenhouse gas emissions data. We work with public agencies, companies, nonprofits, and universities on greenhouse gas accounting, measurement, reporting, and verification. You can’t reduce what you’re not measuring. So, if we have that data available, you can push to reduce energy consumption and therefore emissions.
Ethan: By helping organizations and agencies understand where their emissions are coming from, these carbon registries can empower all of these different entities to set reduction goals and measure progress. Leaders often use the data to develop a sustainability or climate action plan that can guide future climate initiatives.
Dan: At the end of the day, you have all this data. That needs to be able to inform procurement. So, you might be able to compare two different suppliers and say, we’re gonna go with the one that has cleaned up their supply chain.
Ethan: To learn more about carbon registries and how they can empower organizations and governments to reduce emissions, visit climatebreak.org.