Beyond Hammers and Nails: Mitigating and Verifying Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Abstract

One of the biggest challenges to future international agreements on climate change is an independent, science-driven method of verifying reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) [Niederberger and Kimble, 2011]. The scientific community has thus far emphasized atmospheric measurements to assess changes in emissions. An alternative is direct measurement or estimation of fluxes at the source. Given the many challenges facing the approach that uses “top-down” atmospheric measurements and recent advances in “bottom-up” estimation methods, I challenge the current doctrine, which has the atmospheric measurement approach “validating” bottom-up, “good-faith” emissions estimation [Balter, 2012] or which holds that the use of bottom-up estimation is like “dieting without weighing oneself” [Nisbet and Weiss, 2010].

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