California Releases New GHG Measuring Protocols

California, USA - The California Air Resources Board unveiled three greenhouse gas accounting protocols last week for local governments, and urban forestry and methane digester projects.

The protocols are part of the state’s efforts to reduce emissions 30 percent by 2020 under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as Assembly Bill 32.

"It’s very clear that as part of AB 32, we will be asking cities and counties to reduce emissions from their operations, such as greener fleets, more efficient lighting, making water treatment facilities more efficient," Stanley Young, California Air Resources Board spokesman, told "This protocol is to provide a standard way of measuring those reductions."

The urban forestry and methane digester protocols are geared toward voluntary offset projects.

"The urban forestry protocol means cities can invest in shading their streets," "A company or a facility may develop a tree planting program in an urban city and accurately measure the amount of carbon this project would end up storing. As a result, at some future time, it’s possible that those tons of carbon could be used toward required reductions."

Methane capture is growing in popularity in the state’s dairy farm-rich Central Valley. The protocol uses data from a facility’s animals, manure handling processes, carbon dioxide combustion and digester-related equipment and biogas to assess the methane that would otherwise be released. Young pointed out that methane is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the most prevalent greenhouse gas.

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