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Getting Every Ton of Emissions Right

An Analysis of Emission Factors for Purchased Electricity in China

This working paper identifies common errors when accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from purchased electricity in China. It provides solutions and recommendations for policy makers and corporate users.

Executive Summary

In China, there are widespread errors on emission factors used to account for indirect emission from purchased electricity at the organizational level. Based on analysis of this working paper, if the wrong emission factors are used to account for purchased electricity in 2010, it could lead to over-estimation up to 49 percent in GHG emissions.

Authors of this working paper argue that using inappropriate emission factors for purchased electricity, even if all companies in the same country using them consistently, will result in inaccurate accounting results and provides distorted signals, therefore misleading analysis and decisions on GHG mitigation.

Based on requirements and guidance from the most commonly used corporate GHG accounting and reporting standards, namely the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition) and ISO 14064-1:2006 Specification with Guidance at the Organization Level for Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals, authors articulate what shall and shall not be included in the calculation of emission factors for purchased electricity.

This working paper provides calculated default emission factors to use for regional grids in China as well as the calculation process in detail. It also provides recommendations for policy makers, research organizations, consultancies and corporate users regarding the development and usage of emission factors for purchased electricity in China.

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