Learn How to Manage GHG Emissions

Learn How to Manage GHG Emissions

Do we (really) know our carbon emissions?

Imagine! It’s 2030 and the Paris Agreement holds. We’ve made enormous progress across the globe getting governments to commit to emission reductions and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) really show it. Pledges are lined up that promise by this year a 30% reduction in carbon emissions and promise by 2050 the world will be nearly carbon neutral. But something is wrong.

The scientific reports of IPCC in 2030 don’t demonstrate the progress that parties promise. Actual reductions in 2030 are only 9% below 2019 levels and we’re headed far beyond a 2C° temperature increase in this century. The outlook is more dire than ever. What happened?

New satellite data in 2030 suggests that the promised reductions are not real. Factories that were supposed to have been shut down or converted to renewable energy are still spewing carbon. Agricultural operations that had promised to reduce N2O emissions are not nearly as clean as claimed in the annual reports every country is now submitting. Offset programs don’t live up to promises. Even some ODS reductions on paper don’t match reality. Why these discrepancies?

It doesn’t take long to realize that there just hasn’t been enough scrutiny of the annual reports. There hasn’t been enough field checking of claimed reductions. There hasn’t been enough examination of the assertions of manufacturers of energy efficiency products. And in some cases, the promises of the NDCs just were unrealistic. Folks just didn’t know better. What’s the problem?

In this idealized world of the future, we forgot that managing greenhouse gas emissions on such a massive scale requires real expertise, training, and experience. And we failed to develop and offer training. There aren’t enough experts to check the reports or advise on programs. So, left to their own devices, governments and industry use whatever knowledge, however limited, that they have on hand. And it isn’t enough. Now we’re in a real predicament because our efforts of the past decade did not produce the reductions everyone really wanted to achieve and thought they would achieve.

It takes training and experience to manage GHGs

Do you want to really become expert in GHG management? Where will you go? Take a short course? Is two days enough? Read a good book? Attend a meeting? Would you then understand radiative forcing enough to know when emission factors are suspect? Would you incorporate research trends on perovskite into your RE plans? Understand how scenario analysis and RCPs guide selection of reduction goals? Differentiate between biogenic energy sources that are carbon neutral and those that are not? Select the proper protocol for reporting at the municipality level in Bangkok? Notice weaknesses in MACC analyses and avoid ineffective energy investments? And perhaps most importantly, could you verify your emissions through a third party?

These and hundreds of other nuances of GHG management take real effort to understand and require experts to teach. Without that training, mistakes are made that stand in the way of real progress. CPLC’s partner universities provide this essential training and expertise.

A Place to Learn GHG Management

The George Washington University, as a member of the CPLC, offers a unique graduate-level program in GHG Management. And it’s available online so you can earn your Certificate in GHG Management regardless of your location. In four online semester-length courses, world experts offer comprehensive hands-on training that prepares you to begin your GHG management career immediately. And you can complete the program in less than one year.

Applications are now being accepted for the spring 2019 semester. Become an expert in GHG management. Be part of the solution!

About the Author

Professor Rachael Jonassen directs the GHG Management Certificate Program at The George Washington University. Dr. Jonassen advised the Department of Energy as it established the federal greenhouse gas reporting program, and she has led development of greenhouse gas inventories for multiple federal agencies. Rachael also co-authored protocols for greenhouse gas accounting and assessment of mitigation goals. At the National Science Foundation, she directed basic research on the global carbon cycle, coordinated international efforts in carbon cycle research for the US Global Change Research Program, and helped manage the North American Carbon Program. Her work at NSF was recognized with the NSF Director’s Award. Her research is reported in more than 70 professional papers, more than 100 professional talks, and five books. Rachael is a certified Project Management Professional and an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.