How to define additionality in relation to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions

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Courtesy of Verisae

Companies that have facilities which use refrigeration and air-conditioning systems or heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have to measure changes which are imposed upon them due to greenhouse gas emissions. Additionality is a measure which compares the level of emissions prior to implementation with the levels after a greenhouse gas reduction project has been introduced.

Additionality metrics are part of a monitoring and verification plan, which is set up when a greenhouse gas reduction project is underway. The metrics explain when and how the plan would be implemented as well as who is responsible for conducting the process. As this is a complicated area, software has been developed by specialists to simplify the procedure.

Prior to a greenhouse gas reduction project, facilities that use refrigerant undertake a project specific assessment, determining additionality. Current greenhouse gas emission levels are assessed, and once the project is underway, emission levels are then compared to the baseline. In this way, actual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be calculated.

Specific industries have specific performance assessments, as used to determine additionality. For example, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system manufacturers or refrigeration and air-conditioning system manufacturers may measure performance improvements as compared to existing standards. This will apply for particular appliances or processes in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gas.

As global climate change is significantly affected by greenhouse gas emissions, so additionality plays a very important role in determining a reduction project's effectiveness. Many different industries and sectors are involved in greenhouse gas offset projects, for example, the methane capture and recovery projects in landfills, reforestation, and renewable energy efforts.

It is essential that businesses account for the benefits of a greenhouse gas reduction program. Additionality criteria must be established in order for it to be a true emissions reduction. Monitoring and verification ensure that reductions are real and sustainable. Many facilities involved in the development of methods to reduce their usage are relying on monitoring and tracking software and web-based applications that have been developed by experts in this area.

The permanency of a gas reduction project is an essential part of an additionality equation. At the same time, risk factors must be assessed, issue of leakage addressed and monitoring and verification systems maintained to ensure proper accounting.

Currently there is a lot of discussion around the world concerning the availability of funding for companies who are engaged in greenhouse gas reduction projects. Determination of any funding would rely on additionality to determine if the project is more than just a business as usual improvement. Funding will not be made available if the project would have occurred anyway.

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