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Measuring greenhouse gas emissions is a first step in understanding how to reduce emissions. A basic inventory takes into considerations all sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. The major greenhouse gas source in the world is energy consumption. However, other sources include fertilizer, refrigerants, methane, land conversion and landfills. Sinks include things like reforestation or expansion of coral reefs.
Surprisingly, there are a number of available methods to conduct a greenhouse gas inventory. They are all relatively similar, but they have key differences that can lead to different results. Thus, there is no standardization of greenhouse gas accounting procedures.
Plus, greenhouse gas inventories are conducted at widely varying scales. Many states have conducted inventories, but so have counties and cities. Many companies or institutions like universities or schools calculate their carbon footprint as well. Thus, how does one compile or measure impacts or changes when there are lots of different types of organizations measuring greenhouse gas output using different methodologies? That is the issue that is addressed in our paper.