Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Feds as GHG Fruit Flys

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Feds are wrestling with scoping issues and mitigation strategies. They are like GHG fruit flys because 1) they are feeling the pressure of Obama’s executive order to measure and reduce carbon emissions, pronto; 2) they are complex, like multinational corporations; and 3) they communicate their efforts and challenges more openly than most MNCs. 

Here’s the latest from Federal Times:

“We’re wrestling with a lot of the issues right now on the boundaries associated with [indirect emissions],” said Richard Kidd, head of the Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program, which is leading the effort.

Calculating emissions generated by government-owned buildings and vehicles (known as Scope 1 emissions) and by government-purchased energy (Scope 2 emissions) is a fairly straightforward process. Most emissions are generated by buildings, so agencies rely heavily on energy usage rates recorded on their utility bills.

But calculating indirect greenhouse gas emissions is another story. One challenge is deciding whether they are, in fact, indirect emissions. 

If you have contractors who are performing mission-essential functions, is that a Scope 1 emission? If you have a contractor vehicle on your site providing security, is that Scope 1 or 3?” Kidd hypothesized during a Feb. 26 seminar sponsored by the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy.

The next challenge is figuring out how to measure them.

And the next challenge is figuring out how to reduce them. One idea: employee financial incentives.

Even though many questions remain, some agencies already are taking some steps to reduce Scope 3 emissions. The Treasury Department, for instance, pays employees who bike to work a $20-a-month subsidy, helping to reduce emissions from employee commutes. [more]

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Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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