Monday, August 16, 2021

Emissions Baselines for GHG Management

 Emissions Baselines for GHG Management

Greenhouse Gas Emissions are a problem that has been plaguing Earth ever since the industrial revolution. The scale of pollution caused by the consumption of energy and resources cannot be understated. If this is not resolved sooner, then we may be on our way to a global catastrophe. One of the ways that have been found to reduce emissions is through the implementation of baseline emissions.

What are Emissions?

Simply put, emissions are the greenhouse gases that are vented to the atmosphere because of human consumption of energy. Whether it is from electricity, cattle, or transportation, all of these things output large amounts of greenhouse gases daily to the atmosphere. These trapped gases are the primary cause of climate change.

Many attempts have been made to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that humans produce.

Using Less Energy

There has been a lot of programs put into place such as Earth Day, energy conservation PSAs and sometimes even rotating energy schedules. By convincing people around the world to reduce their energy consumption, it can help stall the negative effects of climate change.

Alternative Energy

Alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind, biomass, and nuclear power have been gaining traction recently as alternatives to the much more emission-heavy energy sources like oil. Since emissions from power plants are some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases, changing their source of power can significantly decrease greenhouse effects.

Reducing Food Footprint

One of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions is the livestock industry. The abundance of these animals has caused them to vent large amounts of greenhouse gases into the air. One of the best ways to do this is by encouraging less consumption of meat to lower demand. En masse, this can affect great change.

Alternative Travel

Transportation is another large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By using methods such as walking, electric train, or electronic cars, there is a strong effect on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

All that being said, let's get to the meat of the article.

What are Baseline Emissions?

Baseline emissions act as benchmarks of how high the emissions are for a certain entity. It can be a country, city, or corporation. By measuring the emissions of an entity (typically over one year), we can make use of the data to lessen emissions for the next period. By being a benchmark, it can give scientists a concrete way to measure the success of emission reduction efforts.

Baseline emissions can dictate the scale of climate protocols. The most well-known of these protocols is the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is a commitment enacted by the United Nations to limit the greenhouse gas emissions of industrialized countries through agreed-upon benchmarks. Since it is the responsibility of larger countries to lessen emissions due to the size of their industries, this protocol was put into effect to enforce the benchmark.

By establishing baseline emissions, it can help industries or nations plan for their emission-reduction plans in an organized way.

History of Baseline Emissions

Baseline measurement of greenhouse gas emissions ranges back to over 150 years of our history.  The first gas brought attention to was carbon emissions as that was the main source of greenhouse gas. The basis for the first baseline measurements was in an effort to understand carbon emissions.

Climate protocols have been put in effect from as early as 1990. All participating nations since then have been making attempts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions under similar guidelines. They all work together using the same collective standards regardless of the country as opposed to individual cases. This enables countries to contrast and compare with each other to find the best way to reduce emissions.

At least in theory.

However, there has been a lot of debate over the reliability of such standardized protocols with regards to their effect on a country's economy.  Not to mention, there is a distinct lack of enforcement or culpability on countries no meeting the benchmarks that were given to them.

On a local level, baseline emissions have been much more reliable. Micromanagement of high-emission cities has led to more cities being part of climate change campaigns.

Static vs Dynamic Baseline Emissions

Static baseline emissions are defined as a fixed benchmark that will serve as the goal for the lifetime of the project's duration. Static baselines are often used as a standardized baseline for many institutions. This is because they are predictable and easier to plan around than dynamic baselines. They also tend to be cheaper and require less upkeep than dynamic baselines.

In contrast, dynamic baselines are changed every once in a while during their life cycle. This is largely dependent on the result of reports from each year's benchmark. This makes it costlier and harder to plan around. However, dynamic baselines are more accurate in gauging the actual changes that a protocol has done. Unlike static baselines, reductions in emissions can be immediately seen and worked around.


Baseline emissions are an essential tool in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions. However, research and practical application have a long way to go. Awareness and funding are needed to ensure that the data from baseline emissions can be used to reduce greenhouse gas effects.

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