NYTimes.com – Corporations Getting New Tools for Calculating Emissions

The creators of influential measures of greenhouse gas emissions plan to announce two new tools for corporations on Tuesday.

One is a way to calculate the amount of climate-warming gases released through a company’s supply chain, as well as in the use and disposal of its products. A standardized way of calculating such emissions had eluded energy experts and statisticians for several years. The tool is known as Scope 3.

The second tool is for calculating the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and four other gases linked to climate change across a consumer product’s entire life cycle. With a toaster, for example, a company would seek to count greenhouse gases released in the mining of elements for its metal shell and the coal burned to make the electricity to power it — and even the fuel burned when the toaster is carted away.

Now that there is a method for tallying those emissions, experts hope to refine it in years to come, perhaps eventually enabling consumers to compare the greenhouse gas footprints of, say, two frozen dinners or two sofas.

via NYTimes.com – Corporations Getting New Tools for Calculating Emissions. I would be skeptical of any tool able to reasonably estimate this in a meaningful way, just too many differences across the whole ecosystem of every product from the original ore being mined to manufacturing to shipping to use by the end user. Plus the difficulties in presenting this information in a way that actually means something to the business. That being said more tools to enable customers to estimate what effect that new laptop has, is a good idea.