Paris climate agreement – Historic COP21 Reply

On Saturday night, December 12, 2015, an air of optimism surrounded the topic of climate change after 190 countries unanimously agreed on a unified effort to strategically address this challenge, forming the Paris climate agreement. This United Nations event, COP21, was attended by over 40,000 participants at the host location in Paris. Over 3,000 journalists reporting on the event ensured that the content and messages from COP21 were heard around the globe.

Receiving a unanimous agreement of a global warming temperature limit was the broader, long-term goal. Remarkably, what began as a 2 degree Celsius consensus global warming temperature limit, progressed to a 1.5 degree Celsius consensus limit. This ambitious goal is attainable, but emphasizes the need to implement significant efforts immediately.

The Paris climate agreement is just that, an agreement, and not a legally binding treaty. While this limits enforcement of the content, it allowed the process to be expedited, and not held up in legislation, as it would have been in the United States if presented as a treaty. An accountability system to review country progress every five years will be the alternative form of enforcement.

This agreement is unique in that it encompasses both developing and developed countries, holding them all to emissions reductions targets. Angst did surround the potential roadblocks that the role of developing countries could have posed at the event. One such concern being the cooperation of China and India, as both countries have significant development goals and outlooks. It was noted that the Obama administration played an important role in reaching out to these countries to shift their outlooks. An extra incentive for China was its realization of the opportunity that lies in the manufacture and production of renewables and energy efficient goods.

To support success of the event, despite the challenges mentioned, four pillars were established to guide the negotiations, including,

  1. Climate action plans or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) were required from each country prior to COP21,
  2. A strategy for financing the transition to disrupting the global carbon addiction would be developed,
  3. Engagement of civil society including cities, regions, farmers, energy providers, and energy users must be considered as vital to implementation; and
  4. Outreach to engage the creative community to deliver the positive message that this change is possible must be encouraged.

The agreement is not perfect, and certain timelines and specifics have yet to be sorted. Viewpoints from the scientific community span from full support to harsh critique, some calling the effort ‘too little too late’. However, with creative solutions and innovation as drivers of the movement, as opposed to pessimistic outlooks, the Paris climate agreement has succeeded in establishing worldwide awareness and action on the issue.

Greenhouse gas accountability is the focus in all participating countries, the U.S. being one of those key participants. As a result, tracking and reporting on this topic is very likely to increase in both the private and public sectors. Whether you are required to comply with annual greenhouse gas reporting, attempting to complete a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) questionnaire, or would like to be proactive and take steps to evaluate and enhance your company’s sustainability program, we are here to help you on this journey by offering all of these services, and more. For more information, please contact Cristina Mendoza at 508-970-0033 ext.128 or cmendoza@capaccio.com.

Third-Party Verification Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reports No Longer Required By The MassDEP Reply

On August 26, 2015, the MassDEP issued an e-mail to Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reporting facilities that it will no longer require verification of GHG reports by an approved verification body once every three years as stated in 310 CMR 7.71(7).  This decision applies to reports for reporting year 2014 and future years thereafter.  Verification of emission reports for years prior to 2014 must still be completed and submitted to MassDEP.

The reason for the change is that MassDEP believes the third party verification program has been successful in improving the quality of reported GHG emissions data to-date.  Each reporting facility in the state has completed verification for at least one emission year.  MassDEP believes the reviews have resulted in significant changes to many reports and that going forward, facilities will continue to implement these changes in future years as part of their own internal verification processes.

MassDEP intends to publish a draft report on the verification requirement in the near future which will include supporting data that was considered in deciding to no longer require the third-party verification.   MassDEP  will likely be proposing amendments to 310 CMR 7.71(7) to replace the current verification requirement with other verification options such as self-certification of reported emissions.

Despite the removal of the third party verification requirement, the accuracy and consistency of data should remain a priority that needs to be addressed by alternate means such as a periodic peer review or GHG emissions audit.

CAPACCIO works closely with companies in assisting with the tracking of GHG emissions and in the preparation and submission of GHG reports to both the MassDEP and the Federal EPA.  CAPACCIO will continue to provide GHG program audits and peer reviews of GHG tracking systems, programs, and reporting.

CAPACCIO will continue to follow any developments from the MassDEP and our air quality experts can help with all your compliance needs.  If you have questions or require assistance, please contact Bob King at 508-970-0033 ext. 113 or bking@capaccio.com or John Baycroft at 508-970-0033 ext. 144 or jbaycroft@capaccio.com.

EPA’s Revised GHG Rule for Electronics and Semiconductor Manufacturers Reply

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a pre-published version of their revised Greenhouse Gas reporting rule for electronics and semiconductor manufacturers(40 CFR Part 98 Subpart I). There are many changes in this revision that will reduce the QA/QC requirements of the rule.

The major highlights include modifications to the apportioning model requirement as well as the addition of a stack testing option for reporting emissions. For those facilities that track actual gas consumption, the apportioning model will no longer be required. However, for the facilities that will still need the apportioning model to track their gas usage, the verification standard used to measure actual gas usage from modeled gas usage will be increased from 5 percent to 20 percent. The stack testing option is an alternative method for calculating process gas emissions in place of the standard calculations provided by the subpart.

As the regulation is effective January 2014, RY2013 reporting will not be affected. The regulation will affect 2014 reporting which will be submitted in 2015.

If you have any questions, or require more information or assistance, please contact John Baycroft at 508.970.0033 ext. 144 or jbaycroft@capaccio.com.

GHG Verification Deadline and Important Information Reply

This is a reminder to all Massachusetts Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporters that the deadline for verification
of reporting year 2012 emissions is December 31, 2013. If your facility reports GHG emissions to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and has not been verified in the past, you will need to complete a verification for reporting year 2012.

In order to help MassDEP facilitate outreach and assistance to facilities subject to this regulatory deadline,
MassDEP is requesting that a representative from your facility send an email to massdepverification@theclimateregistry.org at your earliest convenience and, if possible,
before October 15
to indicate that you are aware of the requirement to complete verification of the 2012 MA GHG Facility Report by December 31. A complete list of verifiers can be found at the MassDEP website, http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/climate/reporting.htm, as well as step by step guidance on how to complete the verification process.

CAPACCIO can assist with getting you ready for verification. Please contact John Baycroft at 508.970.0033 ext. 144 or jbaycroft@capaccio.com for assistance or more information.