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Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy launches new carbon accounting project

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NEW YORK (April 14, 2021) – Today, the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA announced it will launch a new project to study current methods that quantify and measure carbon emissions, and investigate the potential for new methods to create greater accountability and carbon emissions reductions across full product life cycles and major sectors of the economy. The project will be led by Dr. Julio Friedmann, senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy, with engagement and input from key stakeholders representing environmental groups, industry, academia, and data and accounting firms. The project will focus on calculating the environmental benefits of products and technologies that reduce or eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, as well as developing new tools for decision-makers to accelerate global progress towards 2030 and 2050 emissions targets.

“As we work to address the urgency of our climate crisis, we need to continue to raise our standards for tracking emissions and encourage new solutions for reducing and eliminating them altogether. This project leverages Columbia University’s broad and multidisciplinary expertise related to energy systems and decarbonization, as well as our convening power to bring diverse perspectives to the conversation,” said Jason Bordoff, Founding Director of the Center on Global Energy Policy.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Standards developed by the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development are the most comprehensive and widely-used global standard for companies to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions. The Corporate Value Chain Scope 3 standard measures indirect emissions that result from activities and assets not controlled or owned by the reporting organization across its value chain. This project will study and build on existing methodologies to account for value chain emissions reduced or eliminated by innovative products and services, including the role that materials and sustainable applications can play in achieving emissions reductions.

“To solve the climate crisis, we need to be fiercely numerate about the challenges we face, and that includes improving how we track carbon as it is produced, transformed, and used worldwide. This project could create new tools that can be used to speed our transition to a net-zero world by helping governments, businesses, and environmental groups track emissions and reward innovation,” said Dr. Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at CGEP who leads the Center’s Carbon Management Research Initiative.

Dow (NYSE: DOW) and The Nature Conservancy are early supporters of this work, bringing significant global climate-related expertise and capabilities in their respective fields. 

“Tangible, universally accepted metrics that quantify, validate, and incentivize innovative approaches to carbon dioxide reduction and removal across the full product life cycle are essential to our ability as a society to protect our climate. Developing innovative and user-friendly tools to align with the GHG Protocol Scope 3 standard would support consistent policies across nations, markets, and jurisdictions and incentivize companies and innovators to collect this value to further accelerate the investment in and deployment of new products and technologies to achieve net-zero emissions,” said Kevin Kolevar, vice president for global government affairs and public policy at Dow, a global materials science solutions provider with industry-leading innovation capabilities and nearly 125 years of manufacturing excellence in products and technologies that reduce GHG emissions and carbon footprint.

“Innovation is essential to address one of our biggest challenges — climate change. Having additional credible methods that incentivize companies to invest in climate mitigation across their whole value chain will lead to increased momentum in the pursuit of key Scope 3 emissions reductions,” said Jennifer Molnar, lead scientist and managing director of The Nature Conservancy’s Center for Sustainability Science, an organization with both legal, practical and environmental perspective and expertise gained over 60 years of science-based conservation of ecosystems.

About the Center on Global Energy Policy

The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University SIPA advances smart, actionable and evidence-based energy and climate solutions through research, education and dialogue. Based at one of the world’s top research universities, what sets CGEP apart is our ability to communicate academic research, scholarship and insights in formats and on timescales that are useful to decision-makers. We bridge the gap between academic research and policy — complementing and strengthening the world-class research already underway at Columbia University, while providing support, expertise, and policy recommendations to foster stronger, evidence-based policy. Recently, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger announced the creation of a new Climate School — the first in the nation — to tackle the most urgent environmental and public health challenges facing humanity. To learn more, please visit or follow @ColumbiaUEnergy on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth, asset integration and scale, focused innovation and leading business positions to achieve profitable growth. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company, with a purpose to deliver a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise and collaboration with our partners. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer care. Dow operates 106 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $39 billion in 2020. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and ocean at an unprecedented scale, and providing food and water sustainably. Working in 72 countries and territories, 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.


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