Chapter 3: GHG Protocol Fundamentals

GHG Protocol: An Introduction

May 18, 2023
August 30, 2023
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introduction to ghg protocol

Lesson Overview


Carbon accounting is complex, demanding thousands of data points and emissions factors.

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Like financial accounting, it requires a series of standards and frameworks to ensure measurements are consistent and accurate.

Of these, the most commonly used global standard is the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, or GHGP.


Terms to Know

Before we get started, there are some terms you should be familiar with.

Carbon Footprint

Also known as a carbon or GHG inventory, a carbon footprint is the combined total of an organization’s GHG emissions.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG)

GHGs are gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere. Importantly, each GHG contributes differently to global warming and has a unique global warming potential, or GWP.

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

A GWP is a factor indicating the relative heat trapping ability of one unit of a given GHG as compared to one unit of carbon dioxide.

Footprint Activity Data

Activity data is a quantitative measure of an activity that results in greenhouse gas emissions. (e.g., kWh of electricity consumed or passenger miles traveled).

Emission Factor

An Emission Factor is a representative value that relates activity data to a quantity of greenhouse gas emissions.

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