Our SAS Talk with Kim podcast is back in action, and we're kicking our 2019 run off by chatting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories with my former colleague Mike Steinhoff at ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability.
GHG Inventories are one of the services KLA provides to clients, and Mike, as ICLEI USA's Program Manager for Tools & Innovation, is one of the foremost experts on the topic. If you've ever been involved in a GHG inventory, you know they can feel a little bewildering or overwhelming or tedious.
But here's the thing you also know: they are important. This might be the one millionth time you've said or hear it, but it bears repeating, "You can't manage what you don't measure."
So I connected with Mike recently to talk about the value of GHG inventories, how our measurement and analysis tools have evolved, and opportunities now and in the future for them to be more of a springboard for meaningful climate action.
Local governments don't (or shouldn't) sink a ton of time and resources into a GHG inventory just to watch it sit on a shelf. From the very beginning we should ask, "Do i want to integrate my climate work with other areas of practice like community health, equity, economic development and growing a clean economy?" "What are the policies that we’re considering and what related data might be useful to inform those?"
As Mike talks about in the podcast, if done well and with an eye towards using the inventory as a tool, you should be answering questions like how much building space exists, what are our energy costs, how much time do people spend in traffic, how much money does that leave the community to pay for gas, where are opportunities to improve waste management?
At its core, a GHG inventory is an opportunity for communities to know themselves better.
In the podcast, we get into the next iteration of the community protocol as well as the GHG Contribution Analysis Toolkit that any local government can access (check it out here). It addresses some of the challenges we encounter during the inventory process: tracking down the right data, finding the right comparison points, and factoring in all sorts of uncertainties. Mike also talk about trends he sees in the field of GHG measurement and analysis -- like how we keep up with all the new data we can glean from mobile use and smart city sensors and how that could help us move from imprecise modeling to actual data.