Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Systems Analysis Approach 2001-01-1080
The combustion of fossil fuels is increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and the weight of scientific evidence indicates that these gases are producing an enhanced green house effect that is altering the global climate. To address this challenge major industrialized countries have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In response leading companies around the world are now investigating opportunities and evaluating the risks associated with their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Creating a successful market for GHG credits will depend, in large part, on the development of credible measurement and verification protocols. Decision-makers need to be assured that an improvement option undertaken in a manufacturing plant does not result in upstream or downstream changes that will increase the overall release of GHGs. In this paper we argue that by using a systems analysis approach companies can have a broader perspective that will enable to not only measure their GHG baselines but also identify reduction opportunities and evaluate trade-offs. In addition, the approach fits into an environmental management system framework and is based on internationally accepted standards. A case example will be used to demonstrate this approach and to show the short and long term benefits of such a perspective.