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Climate Change: Climate Change Solutions
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Contributing Causes of Global Warming
Impacts of Global Warming
Reasons for Action
Climate Change Solutions
The Individual's Role
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
Report represents the formally agreed statement of the IPCC concerning current understanding of carb...

Safeguarding the Ozone Layer and the Global Climate System: Issues Related to Hydrofluorocarbons and...
This IPCC Special Report - offers a balanced scientific, technical, and policy relevant report regar...

Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy
Report offers a detailed analysis of the magnitude of the efficiency potential in non-transportation...

This section discusses examples of strategies, collaborative partnerships, technologies, energy and water efficiency opportunities, and other opportunities to mitigate the effects of global warming and help reduce emissions.

Some of the major efforts by the scientific, environmental, economic, and policy communities working in climate change focus on the following issues and opportunities:

Due to the abundance of available programs, tools, and assistance relating to mitigating climate change, only a representative set of possibilities and examples are presented here, categorized as follows:

GHG Inventories, Reductions, and Calculators

From an organizational or operational perspective, an annual inventory of GHG emissions is useful in climate action planning and managing GHG emissions. In addition, GHG emissions can be calculated and reported on a project level basis.

Understanding an organization's contribution to GHG emissions is a regulatory requirement for some, but is commonly done on a voluntary basis as well. Quantifying GHG emissions in an inventory serves as a useful metric to measure the effectiveness of energy and fuel efficiency efforts - and renewable energy use. Quantifying project emission reductions allows for potential carbon trading for eligible and verified projects, or simply, to understand the impact of an individual project or effort to reduce GHGs.

Regulations and requirements for organizational reporting and managing GHG emissions are becoming increasingly important. The EPA issued a Final Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule, for annual reporting starting in the year 2010. The mandatory reporting requires emissions from more than 10,000 facilities in the U.S., and is intended to collect accurate and timely emissions data to inform future policy decisions. The Securities Exchange Commission issued guidance on corporate disclosure of climate risk by the country's nearly 9,000 publically traded companies. EPA is widely expected (in spring of 2010) to impose the first-ever direct federal controls on GHG emissions, affecting at least 14,000 stationary sources, and possibly many more. And, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is reportedly about to issue new guidance on how climate change impacts should be incorporated into the environmental review process for every major public or private project requiring federal approval or obtaining federal funding.

Some available calculation tools for GHG emissions - with varying scope and coverage and level of detail include the following:

Name of Calculator or Tool(s) Author or Producer Scope and Purpose Intended Audience Use and Training
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol - Calculation Tools Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative Sector-specific and cross-sector calculators to determine GHG emissions from energy consumption, combustion of fuels and other GHG-emitting processes Organizations and companies seeking to report emissions to the GHG Protocol or calculate for internal use or voluntary reporting. Requires registration to access and download MS Excel-based tools
Climate Leaders' Simplified GHG Emissions Calculator (and Guidance) U.S. EPA Climate Protection Partnership Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs In the Climate Leaders archives, many partner companies completed a corporate-wide inventory of GHG emissions using these tools. The resources available on this website help corporations inventory their GHG emissions, set aggressive reduction goals and plan mitigation actions Organizations and companies seeking to calculate emissions for internal use or voluntarily reporting Online webinar, tutorial, and guidance document
U.S. EPA P2 Greenhouse Gas Calculator U.S. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention This tool calculates the GHG emission reductions from electricity conservation, green energy, fuel and chemical substitutions with lower GHG-intensities, water conservation, and improved materials and process management, applicable to many manufacturing sectors.
Organizations seeking to calculate emission reductions associated with specific activities Webinar tutorial, tools, and contact information available for downloading from National Pollution Pevention Roundtable (scroll down)
Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator U.S. EPA, Green Power Partnership, Climate Protection Partnership Division Calculator tool to show the environmental equivalency of a green power purchase in order to better communicate a green power purchase to interested stakeholders. It translates from kilowatt-hours (kWh) purchased into more understandable terms, such as an equivalent number of passenger vehicles, homes, or coal plants Organizations looking to purchase green power On-line web tool with instructions
Waste Reduction Model (WARM) Calculator U.S. EPA Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery WARM calculates marginal emissions reductions and increases from waste management alternatives for common materials in the municipal waste stream Individuals or organizations seeking to tie GHG emission reductions to reduced wastes On-line tool and training
Recycled Content (ReCon) Calculator EPA, Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery The ReCon tool calculates the GHG and energy benefits of increasing the recycled content of specific materials Individuals or organizations seeking to tie GHG emission reductions to green purchasing On-line tool and training
Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) Model Carnegie Mellon EIO-LCA estimates materials and energy resources required for, and environmental emissions resulting from economic activities related to those materials Individuals or organizations seeking to tie GHG emission reductions to materials On-line tool (1997 and 2002 versions)
Office Carbon Footprint Tool Calculator (WasteWise) U.S. EPA Waste Wise This tool assists offices in making decisions to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with their activities, and includes examples of carbon-cutting actions such as recycling, waste prevention, and green power purchasing Offices seeking to understand their inventory and GHG emissions Downloadable tool
Energy Star Portfolio Manager EPA, Energy Star, Climate Protection Partnership Division, Portfolio Manager calculates energy and water consumption within individual buildings as well as across an entire building portfolio and provides a score on how a business is doing with respect to energy consumption Those who own, manage, or hold properties for investment On-line services; webinars, presentations, and pre-recorded trainings
Clean Air Cool Planet Campus Calculator Clean Air Cool Planet This tool contains projection and solutions modules, designed to aid schools that have completed GHG inventories, in developing long term, comprehensive climate action plans based on those inventories; it facilitate analysis of carbon reduction options, determining project payback times, net present value, cost per ton reduced, and other relevant markers Campuses Downloadable spreadsheet file and guidance document
State Inventory and Projection Tool U.S. EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program This interactive spreadsheet model designed to help states develop GHG emissions inventories via a state inventory tool and a projection tool. The State Inventory Tool (SIT) gives users the option of applying their own state-specific data or using default data pre-loaded for each state. The Projection Tool allows users to create a simple forecast of emissions through 2020 based on historical emissions and projections of future energy consumption, population, and economic factors. State government Request a copy online
Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) Benefits Calculator U.S. EPA, Climate Change Division, Office of Atmospheric Programs The Landfill Methane Outreach Program Benefits Calculator calculates the direct emissions reductions and the avoided emissions (from electricity generation) of landfill methane projects LMOP partners and managers of LFGTE projects Online tool and services
Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator Federal Electronics Challenge (under U.S. EPA) The EEBC estimates the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)-registered products, in addition to improvements in equipment operation and end-of-life management practices. The calculator estimates numerous environmental improvements including CO2/Greenhouse gas emission reductions. Organizations interested in estimating the environmental benefits of greening their purchase, use and disposal of electronics On-line tool and instructions

The above tools are free to the public. Many more are available for purchase. A 2010 report by renewable energy and energy efficiency consultants Groom Energy Solutions identified about 60 vendors offering enterprise carbon accounting software—up from about 40 vendors in mid 2008. The report estimates that the number of organizations using such software will increase 600 percent by 2011.

Reporting: Protocols, Standards, and Registries

Numerous reporting standards or protocols exist for GHG accounting and reporting. This can be a detailed undertaking for companies wanting to report per a particular protocol or standard, and/or use carbon reduction or removals for carbon credits. Factors affecting level of rigor:

Organizational or Entity-Level Protocols (Not a complete list)

Protocol or Standard

Reporting Registry

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard


ISO 14064 Part 1: Specification with Guidance at the Organization Level for Quantification and Reporting of GHG Emissions and Removals


California Climate Action Registry – General Reporting Protocol Version 3.1 (based on WRI protocols, not restricted to California businesses)

The Climate Registry (reporting in online tool called CARROT)

U.S. EPA Climate Leaders– Program Requirements and Conformance Policy

US EPA Climate Leaders

U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Section 1605(b) Program (managed by the Energy Information Administration within the U.S. Department of Energy)

1605 b (via Report (Form EIA-1605)

Project/Activity Level or “Reduction/Removal” Protocols (Not a complete list)

**Qualifying protocol for carbon credit or trading schemes.

Protocol or standard

Reporting Registry

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Project Standard


ISO 14064 Part 2: Specification with Guidance at the Project Level for the Quantification, Monitoring and Reporting of GHG Emission Reductions and Removal Enhancements


U.S. DOE’s Section 1605(b) Program (enhanced in 2002 under climate change initiative – revision includes sub-entity level reporting for GHG reduction or removal projects)

1605 b

**Voluntary Carbon Standard 2007.1 (based on WRI and ISO 14064)

Voluntary Carbon Standard Registry System

**Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (mechanisms under the Kyoto protocol)

CDM Registry or Kyoto national registries

**CDM Gold Standard

Gold Standard Registry

**Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) (individual performance standards for qualifying projects – including landfill methane reduction, energy efficiency and switching, renewables, forestry, and more)


**Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (for participating midwest states only – focus on power plants)

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

**Climate Action Reserve(numerous project-specific protocols including forestry, landfill projects, and others)

Climate Action Reserve

Some protocols covering emissions relating to other inventories or emission sources include:

A few additional sources of reporting databases include:

Climate Action Planning for Government

Managing GHG emissions requires intensive planning and reduction efforts. Efforts vary for municipalities, state or federal governments, businesses, and individuals or households. Examples illustrating GHG reduction opportunities for government follow.

Local governments lead by example by implementing climate change and clean energy programs within their own buildings and operations. Local governments can achieve substantial GHG emission reductions and energy cost savings across their facilities, operations, fleets, and with city business and citizens, by:

State governments have the opportunity to conduct or affect many of the aforementioned areas, but may have additional efforts in policy and programs arena. See a list of state activities here.

For both local and state governments, EPA has resources to help governments understand, plan, and implement strategies to reduce GHG emissions within their jurisdictions. The State and Local Climate and Energy Program bring together EPA resources to serve as a one-stop shop for government officials seeking information on climate change and clean energy.

Federal governments have the opportunity to conduct many of the aforementioned activities, within their own departments and/or by assisting states and cities, as well as businesses and individuals. With the federal government being the single largest U.S. energy consumer (spending more than $24.5 billion on electricity and fuel in 2008), President Barack Obama directed the federal government to reduce GHG emissions 28 percent by 2020 by using energy more efficiently and shifting to clean energy sources such as wind and geothermal power. Reducing and reporting GHG pollution, as called for in Executive Order 13514 on Federal Sustainability, will ensure that the federal government leads by example in building the clean energy economy. Examples of agency actions that are underway are available from the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

In addition, the federal government can use the annual, national-level GHG inventory (See 2009 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report), which identifies and quantifies primary anthropogenic sources and sinks of greenhouse gases and major contributing sectors in the U.S., to target GHG reduction efforts.

Climate Action Planning for Businesses and Institutions

Businesses and institutions can determine their GHG inventory using protocols and calculators identified above, or if required by state or federal law or other policy, or even a customer, using the tools stipulated. Organizations can then use this information to set goals and strategize for reductions in GHG emissions.

Industry Partnerships, Programs & Resources

The following programs and resources are examples of activities and technical assistance available for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), sponsored by the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Industrial Technologies Program, provide eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments, resulting in recommendations to manufacturers to save energy and improve other operations.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) has a goal for the chemical industry, to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy use, water use, and toxic and pollutant dispersion per unit of output by 2020. To achieve this goal, ITP Chemicals supports R&D projects that meet industry needs and help achieve national goals for energy and the environment. They have many resources, publications, and examples or guidance for reducing consumption of energy and steam. They also manage a voluntary program for industry, called LEADER Companies, and one current focus area is to analyze energy use in the chemical industry and identify the R&D priorities that provide this industry with the greatest energy savings.

The EPA’s High Global Warming Potential (GWP) Partnership has prioritized efforts to work with industry around the reduction of emissions from industries or industry processes that use and/or generate high GWP emissions, such as substitutes for ozone depleting substances, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), iron and steel production, cement production, nitric acid production, lime production, ammonia production and urea consumption, and other processes such as aluminum and semi-conductor production. Current focus is on the sectors described in more detail below:

Additional focused energy efforts supporting industry are:

Specific Focus Areas and Actions

While it would be impossible to include every strategy, opportunity, behavior change, or technology to reduce GHG emissions in everyday life and everyday activities, a snippet of examples and suggestions are provided below in a few different areas.


Some of these opportunities can be implemented by transportation agencies and others can be implemented by industry (freight shippers, auto manufacturers, airlines, railroads, etc.) and/or the public, such as -

Energy and Fuel

Energy efficiency and conservation is the most cost effective way of reducing GHG emissions. For example, McKinsey & Company's Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy shows the U.S. industrial sector can reduce annual energy consumption 18 percent by 2020 and save more than $442 billion in energy costs with an upfront investment of $113 billion.

Many industrial facilities have succeeded in reducing their total energy consumption. As examples, view a list of the Industrial Technologies Program's (ITP) 2009 Award Recipients under the Save Energy Now, Energy Champion Plants, and Energy Savers. (Numerous resources are available within these programs to identify energy efficiency opportunities.) A few energy and fuel minimization opportunities include the following:

Land Use and Carbon Storage

Consumption and Waste


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Hub Last Updated: 4/28/2015