This case study shows an early effort to mention materials in a traditional, “in-boundary” inventory. While Oregon now produces a “multi-lens” inventory (with consumption-based and in-boundary emissions reported alongside each other), this earlier approach provides an example of a qualitative method of including materials.
- Who did it: The 2004 Inventory is included as Appendix 1 of http://oregon.gov/ENERGY/GBLWRM/docs/CCIGReport08Web.pdf, the Final Report of the Governor's Climate Change Integration Group. Technically, this is a report from the Governor's Climate Change Integration Group to the Governor. The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) was the lead author of Appendix 1. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) contributed draft language regarding materials.
- What they did (and when): Appendix 1 (starting on page 73 of the pdf) primarily presents the results of a "traditional" (including electricity consumption) GHG inventory for Oregon. Section 1.9 (starting on p. 85 of the pdf) includes a discussion of the omission of life-cycle emissions for materials consumed in Oregon, a very rough estimate (now believed to be low) of these emissions, and a short discussion of possible implications. This text was drafted in 2007 and finalized in 2008.
- Why they did it: Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) encouraged ODEQ and ODOE to add language addressing the emissions associated with materials (as well as to develop methods to quantify these emissions if possible, and to encourage others to do the same). EQC's concerns were three-fold: 1) the traditional in-boundary inventory approach (by itself) fails to adequately recognize the benefits of materials conservation practices that can help reduce GHG emissions - and practices that Oregonians can take to reduce GHG emissions should be recognized regardless of where the actual emissions reductions occur; 2) the traditional inventory approach gives the unintended but awkward appearance of rewarding the state when industries outsource activities (and associated jobs and emissions) out-of-state; 3) public confidence in government's ability to address climate change and other environmental challenges is dependent on government being open and transparent with accounting and reporting of emissions - thus, excluded emissions should at least be acknowledged qualitatively, if not quantitatively.
Results/outcomes/successes/failures/lessons learned: Oregon's 2004 Inventory includes good language on the emissions associated with materials consumption. Including this language may have raised awareness and helped stakeholders to better understand the issue. Having said that, given the significance of these emissions, it may have been better if some of this language were integrated earlier in the inventory report. It would be stronger if future reports begin with a short description/qualifier of what's included and what isn't, before launching into the numbers.
The traditional inventory text draws a potentially confusing distinction between "production" and "consumption" based accounting. Because Oregon's inventory includes the emissions (out-of-state) associated with electricity use in-state, the report describes the inventory as being "consumption-based". This language is inconsistent with DEQ's "consumption-based emissions inventory" (a separate project, see here) - the official 2004 inventory includes emissions associated with in-state use of energy, but not materials. Also "consumption" in economic terms only applies to final demand (demand by households and governments, and business capital), whereas "use" applies to both final demand and intermediate demand (supply chain purchases associated with satisfying final demand). Further, the 2004 inventory's "consumption related" emissions for energy are direct (combustion) emissions only, and do not include upstream (supply chain) emissions associated with preparing the fuels for combustion. DEQ's consumption-based emissions inventory attempts to include both combustion and pre-combustion emissions for energy consumed directly in Oregon, as well as in the supply chain of materials and services consumed in Oregon.