Environmental Permitting

How to Prepare GHG Emissions Inventories


For facilities subject to mandatory GHG reporting requirements under 40 CFR 98, preparing a trustworthy emissions inventory can be accomplished by following the appropriate provisions of the regulations, which enumerate the GHGs that must be reported and the methods of calculation.

Participation in voluntary GHG reporting requires the preparation of an emissions inventory.  As discussed yesterday, the Climate Registry is an entity that provides organizations the opportunity to document GHG emissions.  To ensure the veracity of the reports submitted, the Climate Registry has established numerous protocols that participants must follow and provides tools to facilitate reporting. 


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In general, the Climate Registry, in their General Reporting Protocol, offers the following principles for preparing a GHG emissions inventory and report:

  • Relevance.  Be sure the GHG emissions inventory appropriately depicts the GHG emissions so that the users of the data can make well-informed decisions. 
  • Completeness. Once the boundary of the inventory is defined, be sure to include emissions from all sources and activities within the boundary.
  • Consistency.  Use consistent methods of collecting data and calculating emissions so that useful comparisons can be made over time.
  • Transparency.  Clearly state all assumptions, references, methods of data collection, and emissions calculations to allow for simple auditing of your emissions report.
  • Accuracy. Strive to achieve an accurate inventory of GHG emissions so that users can have a high degree of confidence in the information reported.

Verification of Emissions Inventories

Entities submitting voluntary reports are encouraged to have their GHG emissions reports reviewed and verified by independent and qualified auditors who have been accredited by an independent and nationally recognized accreditation program.  Members of the Climate Registry must select a verification entity from an approved list provided by the Climate Registry.  Both the member and the verification entity must abide by the Climate Registry’s verification protocol.

This third-party verification helps ensure the accuracy of the GHG emissions reports and allows those using or relying on the data to have a high degree of confidence that the data is a truthful accounting of GHG emissions.


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As part of any independent verification, qualified verifiers must use their expertise and professional judgment to verify the accuracy, completeness, and consistency of:

  • The content of emissions reports and the supporting records maintained by the entity;
  • The representation of any significant changes in boundaries, products, or processes;
  • The procedures and methods used to collect emissions and output data and to calculate emissions reductions;
  • Relevant personnel training and management systems; and
  • Relevant quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) procedures.

The use of third-party verification is not required for the mandatory GHG reporting program under 40 CFR 98 and is not in widespread use for other mandatory reporting programs, but don’t be surprised to see some regulatory agencies institute such procedures.

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