Counting carbon: contextualization or harmonization in municipal GHG accounting

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This article conducts an assessment of what should be considered best practice in municipal GHG accounting, contrasting the call for increased global harmonization with the need for local relevance and applicability. Taking as its point of departure an analysis of GHG accounting methodologies applied by local governments in Denmark, we identify eight Danish methodologies and assess them based on international good practice criteria. We observe a high degree of convergence among the Danish approaches in the application of data sources, quantification approaches, and scope, identifying data availability as the key barrier to improving the specificity and dynamic properties of local GHG accounts. In furthering an international best practice, the Danish approaches indicate that relevance to local planning necessarily involves an adaptation to the context of local systems and data sources, and that best practice guidelines should acknowledge limitations in inventory quality and provide guidelines for weighing trade-offs and exploring synergetic improvements. In Denmark, synergies can be found in improved data quality and regional cooperation on account development, which may improve relevance, quality, and comparability simultaneously, and act as an adaptive approach to methodology harmonization, without thereby reducing inventory relevance.
TidsskriftCarbon Management
Udgave nummer3-4
Sider (fra-til)191-203
StatusUdgivet - 2016

Bibliografisk note

Note from the Publisher regarding the attached Open Access document: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Carbon Management on 22 Aug 2016, available online:”


  • Greenhouse gas inventory
  • mitigation
  • best practice
  • monitoring
  • municipalities

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