The U.S. Public Sector Works with GHG Protcol to Develop a New Protocol

Public sector organizations are amongst the most important sources of GHG emissions worldwide. Building off 10 years of success in working with the corporate sector, WRI is now developing new accounting guidance for government operations - the GHG Protocol Public Sector Protocol (U.S.). The Protocol is intended as a flexible management tool enabling government agencies of all types to meet multiple reporting objectives. The initial focus of the Protocol is government agencies in the U.S.

While much of the guidance in the Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard is relevant to the public sector, the Public Sector Protocol will offer expanded guidance on how to address the unique organizational and structural characteristics of government agencies. This guidance emphasizes the “operational control” approach for inventories (i.e. only accounting for emissions from those activities over which an organization operates or controls), and how to account for leased buildings and vehicle fleets. The Protocol also recommends that local governments consult the Local Government Operations (LGO) Protocol for guidance that is compatible with the Public Sector Protocol and specific to city, county and municipal organizations. This protocol was developed jointly by The Climate Registry, the California Climate Action Registry, the California Air Resources Board and ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability.

Obama signs executive order

The government sector is particularly prominent at the moment as President Obama signed an executive order in October 2009 committing federal agencies to reduce their GHG emissions by setting 2020 reduction targets. In accounting for and reporting their emissions, these agencies will have to rely upon a set of generally accepted principles based on the Public Sector Protocol.

“Globally, the government sector is responsible for a huge volume of greenhouse gas emissions, and the executive order sets an important milestone and example for the management of these emissions,” says WRI’s Stephen Russell. “Based on over ten years of work on GHG accounting, the Public Sector Protocol is central to helping governments meet their climate goals.”

Current Status of the Project

Together with its partners - Logistics Management Institute (LMI), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - WRI has convened local, state and federal government agencies, as well as GHG reporting programs, to review and road test a draft of the Public Sector Protocol. These organizations can find the current draft of the Protocol, along with supporting documents, in the table below.

Concurrent with this process, WRI also held an Open Comment Period. All organizations were invited to comment on the draft during this period, which closed on 11/03/2009. Further questions about the Protocol should be directed to pspcomments@wri.org. A final draft of the Protocol will be released in May 2010, and those who have signed up for the email distribution list below will receive notification when it is on the website.

Public Sector Protocol Documents

Document Date
Final publication  
U.S. Public Sector Protocol Oct 10
Drafts  
Final Draft May 10
Final Draft: Appendix A, Overview of GHG Programs May 10
Summary of changes for provisional draft Oct 09
Provisional draft Oct 09
Summary of Main Changes Aug 09
Revised Draft #1 Aug 09
Draft June 09
Background Information  
List of Participating Organizations Aug 09
Public Sector Protocol FAQ June 09
Terms of Reference June 09
Timeline June 09
Questionnaire June 09
Presentations  
Federal Road Test PowerPoint Aug 09
Kick-Off Webinar Re-Recording (Mac Version) July 09

If you are interested in joining, please email pspcomments@wri.org

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