Open Letter on Scope 2 GHG Reporting

Open Letter on Scope 2 GHG Reporting

At the Climate Action Reserve, we are strongly committed to developing effective, market-based approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We also believe that promoting the development of renewable energy is essential to any serious effort to mitigate climate change. Creating demand for renewables through voluntary markets for green power and “renewable energy certificates” (RECs) is one way to help advance both objectives. However, it is critically important that such markets be based on sound GHG accounting.

Recently, the World Resources Institute published a new guidance document regarding how companies should report their “Scope 2” greenhouse gas emissions. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions that arise from consumption of grid electricity, heat, or steam. The guidelines allow companies to use RECs to “reduce” their reported GHG emissions. If enough RECs are purchased, a reporting entity’s GHG emissions from electricity can be reported as zero, equivalent to not having consumed any electricity!

The parallel to carbon offsets is clear. By following the guidelines, companies can effectively claim to have “offset” their Scope 2 emissions using RECs or other contractual arrangements for green power. But is buying REC’s equivalent to buying offsets? Our longstanding answer is no.

It should be a bedrock principle of GHG accounting that no company be allowed to report a reduction in its GHG footprint for an action that results in no change in overall GHG emissions. Yet this is precisely what can happen under WRI’s new guidance.

It is because of this problem that we, along with other GHG accounting practitioners and academics, are calling on companies to not use the contractual/REC-based reporting method allowed by the guidance, and to rely instead on grid-based emission factors to determine Scope 2 emissions (which is also provided for in the guidance).

You can find out more by reading the open letter here. We would welcome your views and insights, and if you agree with us, you can also sign on to the letter.

Public comment period open for draft Mexico ODS Project Protocol Version 1.0 – workshop February 26 – comments due March 17

Public comment period open for draft Mexico ODS Project Protocol Version 1.0 – workshop February 26 – comments due March 17

10 ideas to green your Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend

10 ideas to green your Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend

Here’s some of the ways we’ll be staying green this Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend. Please feel free to share your green tips and eco-friendly weekend plans in the comments section below. Thanks!


1. Skip the balloons and store-bought card, and make a homemade valentines card out of recycled paper and craft supplies, or send an e-card

tandem bike

Photo credit: FaceMePLS via flickr

2. Go on a tandem bike ride!


Photo credit: randychiu via flickr

3.  Take public transportation to your dinner date


Photo credit: craigles75 via flickr

4. Compost flowers after they’ve outlived their life in a vase – or better yet, gift plants or succulents that will last


Photo credit: Rhey Lee

5. Feast on local eats purchased from the farmers market


Photo credit: Equal Exchange

6. Enjoy fair trade, organic chocolate that support sustainable agriculture and worker health and rights


Photo credit: Max DuBuisson

7. Take your growler to get refilled rather than buying another 6 or 12 pack of bottles


Photo credit: Orin Zebest via flickr

8. Find a super unique gift or super fun dress up outfit at the thrift store

reclaimed wood

Photo credit: Paul Sableman via flickr

9. Do a DIY project w/reclaimed wood – lots of instructions on the internet


Photo credit: Frank Hebbert via flickr

10. Bring your own glasses, plates and silverware on a picnic date to save on paper and plastic waste

In anticipation of NACW 2015, we’d like to share our favorites in downtown Los Angeles

In anticipation of NACW 2015, we’d like to share our favorites in downtown Los Angeles

The next NACW will take place in downtown Los Angeles this April and we’re very excited to welcome delegates to our hometown. In addition to the Reserve’s main office, downtown Los Angeles is home to many top notch sights and treasures, such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Central Library, and Grand Central Market. To get you excited about joining us in downtown LA, we’d like to share some of our favorites in the neighborhood. Please feel free to contact us for additional information or recommendations! And please feel free to share your favorites in the comment section below. Thanks!


Sixth Street Tavern

Sixth Street Tavern

  • Favorite sandwich: The BBQ Pork Banh Mi from The Sandwich Shop on 6th Street, just around the corner from the Biltmore
  • Favorite breakfast: The Original Pantry Café, at the corner of 9th St and Figueroa. If it’s crowded, sit at the counter
  • Favorite casual beer bar: Casey’s Irish Pub, Grand Ave just south of 6th Street
  • Favorite craft beer bar: Sixth Street Tavern
  • Favorite business lunch: Blue Cow Kitchen, up the hill on Grand Ave
  • Favorite dinner: Mas Malo (Mexican), 7th Street between Grand and Olive

Further afield:

  • LA Farmer’s Market: 3rd Street and Fairfax Ave, 10-15 minutes from downtown
  • Griffith Observatory: In Griffith Park, Google it. Stellar views of the LA basin, and you can learn science things.
  • Hermosa Beach Pier: Get the beach vibe. Plan for a long walk and then lots of food and drink options. Bring flip-flops and sunglasses, regardless of weather.

Grand Hope Park

Grand Park

  • Favorite park: Grand Park is a nice downhill stroll from the Music Center to City Hall; the big fountain is especially nice at night
  • Favorite place to walk around: Little Tokyo has cool shops, restaurants, the Japanese American National Museum, MOCA-Geffen
  • Favorite historical spot: Olvera Street, a good place to buy a leather purse, Day of the Dead skull, some dulce, or a Los Doyers t-shirt, and take a tour of the Avila Adobe, the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles
  • Favorite view: View from the revolving L.A. Prime restaurant on top of the Bonaventure
  • Favorite lobby: the very Moroccan Hotel Figueroa

G&B Coffee

G&B Coffee

  • Favorite coffee: G&B Coffee
  • Favorite gastropub: Wurstkuche
  • Favorite restaurant: Orsa & Winston
  • Favorite bar: Cole’s/Varnish
  • Favorite Japanese: Izakaya Honda-Ya

Outside of DTLA

  • Favorite Chinese food: Newport Seafood (San Gabriel)
  • Favorite café: Casbah Café (Silver Lake)
  • Favorite gastropub: Beer Belly (Koreatown)

Peddler's Creamery

Peddler’s Creamery

  • Favorite street art: Parking by Banksy (Broadway & 9th)
  • Favorite place to wander: The Last Bookstore – used & new books, interesting finds (signed Miranda July book!), even a dollar section upstairs
  • Favorite photo op spot: on top of the ice cream-churning bicycle at Peddler’s Creamery, yes they let you sit on top and take photos. Great spot for delicious organic vegan ice cream. And if you can pedal for 20 minutes at a steady pace, you can sign up for a pedaling-churning session and receive a free scoop of ice cream in return.
  • Favorite pie spot: Pie Hole – they offer not just sweet pies, but savory pies too, like chicken pot pie, kale & mushroom pie, steak & ale pie
  • Favorite taco spot: Guisados


Casey’s Irish Pub

  • Best happy hour: Casey’s
  • Best whiskey bar: 7th and Grand
  • Best rooftop cocktails with a view (and also a good happy hour): Takami Restaurant
  • Best Happy Hour (food) w/ great sports viewing: Bunker Hill Bar and Grill
  • Best Divebars: La Cita, Down and Out (Couldn’t pick one ;)
  • Best tacos: Grand Central Market!!
  • Best coffee: Spring for Coffee – it’s literally in the Biltmore (entrance on Grand) and it’s SOOOO good!

Gather DTLA

Gather DTLA

  • Favorite museum: Grammy Museum
  • Favorite yarn/knitting store: Gather DTLA (inside the Last Bookstore)
  • Favorite theatre: the Orpheum
  • Favorite bar: Villain’s Tavern
  • Favorite lunch spot: Grand Central Market

Tacos Tumbras a Tomas

Tacos Tumbras a Tomas

  • Coffee: G&B Coffee in Grand Central Market
  • Quick lunch: cabeza and carnitas tacos at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas in Grand Central Market
  • Sandwich (kinda): beef tongue schnitzel bäco at Bäco Mercat
  • Happy hour deal: $5 Manhattan + $5 half-dip & fries at Cole’s
  • Cocktail: Poblano Escobar at Las Perlas


LA Boulders

  • Athletic Pursuits: LA Boulders (LAB)
  • Cheap Eats: Wurstkuche
  • Café: Zinc Cafe
  • Veggie Options: Tierra café
  • Drinks: The Varnish

Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

  • Favorite lunch spot: Grand Central Market – lots of variety and a great example of classic downtown and “new downtown” coming together. Try a pastrami at Wexler’s Deli or Thai comfort food at Sticky Rice.
  • Favorite rooftop bar: Ace Hotel –  hidden gem on Broadway with an always interesting mix of people (and cocktails!)
  • Favorite bar for a group: The Edison – home to LA’s first power plant, this is a speakeasy-type place with very cool architecture and history
  • Favorite casual dinner spot: Tender Greens – fast, fresh and very close to the conference hotel
  • Favorite dinner spot: Bestia – a little off-the-beaten-DTLA path, but worth the trip to the Arts District for unique Italian small plates in a vibrant, fun setting

Bottega Louie

Bottega Louie

  • Favorite indoor market: Grand Central Market
  • Favorite outdoor market: the Wednesday Farmer’s Market at Pershing Square
  • Favorite sushi: Sugar Fish
  • Favorite cookie: the macaroons at  Bottega Louie’s
  • Favorite happy hour: the Golden Gopher

Bradbury Building

Bradbury Building

  • Favorite architecture: the Bradbury Building, the rotunda at LA City Hall, the Ace Hotel, the Children’s Reading Room at the Central Library (and the rotunda there too), and just a bit out of downtown the Mercado Paloma
  • Favorite music hall: Walt Disney Concert Hall
  • Favorite lunch spot: Baco Mercat, Grand Central Market, Daikokuya in Little Tokyo
  • Favorite dinner spot: Bestia, Church & State
  • Favorite taco spot: Guisados (especially the original location in Boyle Heights)

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore

  • Favorite Bookstore: The Last Bookstore. Words can’t describe how awesome this place is. $1 used books upstairs? Yes, please. It’s easy to while away the hours in this store, so plan accordingly.
  • Favorite Hair Salon: Industry DTLA. Not only have I been going to the owner for haircuts for the past 6 years, he now has a new space complete with edgy boutique items designed and made locally.
  • Favorite Theater: The Theater at Ace Hotel. If you have a chance to catch at show here, it’s an experience you will never forget. The completely restored 1920s theater will take your breath away. So many beautiful architectural details, even if the seating is a bit cramped and vertically daunting.
  • Favorite Crepes (breakfast OR lunch!): Crêpe X-press Cafe. Savory or sweet crêpes for breakfast or lunch, any of them can be made gluten free! The salads are also great, and they serve Illy coffee, if that’s your thing. I love the Voulez-Vous and À Bientôt savory crêpes and the classic Crêpe Xpress sweet crêpe with banana, strawberries, and Nutella.
  • Favorite Happy Hour with a View: The Standard Hotel. Lots of seating with great views of the city and a cool, modern vibe.

Former CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley joins Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

Former CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley joins Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

New election brings prominent, notable environmental experience from national, state and city levels

LOS ANGELES, CA – White House veteran and key leader in national, California and Los Angeles environmental policies, Nancy Sutley, has been elected to the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors. Ms. Sutley formerly served as Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and currently holds the position of Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). During her career, she has served under two presidents, one governor and one mayor. Her seat on the Board brings a wealth of environmental experience.

“We are honored to welcome Nancy Sutley to the Reserve Board of Directors. She is not only a strong, dynamic addition to the Board but also a natural fit to help guide our growth and strategic direction. Nancy’s interaction with and support of the Reserve actually goes back over a decade, and her accomplishments and experiences on national, California and Los Angeles levels relate to the core of the Reserve’s identity and vision,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors and Founding Partner of Clean Tech Advocates.

As CEQ Chair, Ms. Sutley was a chief architect of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and played a central role in developing and implementing the Obama Administration’s environmental priorities. Prior to this appointment, she held key roles in developing environmental initiatives in Los Angeles and California. She served as the Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the City of Los Angeles under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She represented Los Angeles on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and served on the California State Water Resources Control Board. Before coming to Los Angeles, she held positions on the state level as Energy Advisor for Governor Gray Davis and Deputy Secretary for Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at California EPA.

“Joining the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors is an honor and also meaningful to me. I have followed the organization’s work since its inception and been very familiar with the role it has played in some of California’s pioneering environmental initiatives and outside the state borders. It is certainly poised to play even stronger roles in these arenas and internationally, and I am be honored to be asked to lend my knowledge and experience to help guide this growth,” said Ms. Sutley.

PG&E’s Melissa Lavinson elected to Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

PG&E’s Melissa Lavinson elected to Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

Energy and environmental policy expert adds more depth and reach to the Board

LOS ANGELES, CA – Melissa Lavinson, Vice President, Federal Affairs at PG&E Corporation, has joined the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors. Ms. Lavinson’s expertise on energy and environmental policy is well known in California and on Capitol Hill. Her work with Congress, trade associations, NGOs and other groups has also earned her a reputation as a key team player on issues vital to California and the nation.

“Welcoming Melissa Lavinson to the Reserve Board of Directors is very exciting for us in many respects. She is an extremely accomplished individual with a wealth of experience and accomplishments in energy and the environment. She will not only help guide the Reserve in its strategic growth and involvement on a national level, but also here in California. Also, the Reserve has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with PG&E, and it is wonderful to have the company involved with the Reserve on this level again,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors and Founding Partner of Clean Tech Advocates.

In her position at PG&E, Ms. Lavinson is responsible for directing the company’s efforts to shape, develop, implement and manage public policy on all federal issues that impact the company’s business. She also builds the company’s relationships on the federal level with Congress, the administration and diverse groups. Prior to joining PG&E in 1997, she was a Senior Associate at MRW and Associates in Oakland, California. Ms. Lavinson began her career with ICF Consulting and was based in Washington, DC. Currently, she splits her time between San Francisco and Washington, DC.

“I am honored to join the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors and looking forward to upholding PG&E’s history of collaboration with this great organization. In my role at PG&E, I see how California’s pioneering environmental initiatives impact work on a federal level, and the Reserve’s high standards and quality work have followed in those footsteps,” said Ms. Lavinson.

Our 10 favorite climate quotes by President Barack Obama in 2014

Our 10 favorite climate quotes by President Barack Obama in 2014

As President Barack Obama prepares to give his State of the Union address tonight, we took a moment to reflect back on his speeches and statements made in the past year, and found our 10 favorite climate quotes that motivate, challenge, and inspire. Here they are listed in chronological order. Feel free to share your favorite climate quotes in the comments below!

“The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.  But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 28, 2014

(Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

“This is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now. Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, interview with Al Roker, May 6, 2014


“When Americans are called on to innovate, that’s what we do — whether it’s making more fuel-efficient cars or more fuel-efficient appliances, or making sure that we are putting in place the kinds of equipment that prevents harm to the ozone layer and eliminates acid rain.  At every one of these steps, there have been folks who have said it can’t be done.  There have been naysayers who said this is going to destroy jobs and destroy industry. And it doesn’t happen because once we have a clear target to meet, we typically meet it. And we find the best ways to do it.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, conference call with public health groups, June 2, 2014

“If there’s one thing I would like to see, it’d be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, interview with Thomas Friedman, June 7, 2014


“Part of what’s unique about climate change, though, is the nature of some of the opposition to action.  It’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter somebody who says the problem you’re trying to solve simply doesn’t exist.  When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it; it was going to be too expensive, it was going to be too hard, it would take too long.  But nobody ignored the science.  I don’t remember anybody saying that the moon wasn’t there or that it was made of cheese.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UC Irvine Commencement Address, June 14, 2014

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“We need scientists to design new fuels. We need farmers to help grow them. We need engineers to invent new technologies. We need entrepreneurs to sell those technologies. We need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components. We need builders to hammer into place the foundations for a clean energy age. We need diplomats and businessmen and women, and Peace Corps volunteers to help developing nations skip past the dirty phase of development and transition to sustainable sources of energy. In other words, we need you.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UC Irvine Commencement Address, June 14, 2014

“Today, about 40 percent of America’s carbon pollution comes from our power plants. There are no federal limits to the amount those plants can pump into the air. None. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, and sulfur, and arsenic in our air and water, but power plants can dump as much carbon pollution into our atmosphere as they want. It’s not smart, it’s not right, it’s not safe, and I determined it needs to stop.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, League of Conservation Voters Capital Dinner, June 25, 2014

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit 2014 (2)
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Yes, this is hard.  But there should be no question that the United States of America is stepping up to the plate.  We recognize our role in creating this problem; we embrace our responsibility to combat it.  We will do our part, and we will help developing nations do theirs.  But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation –- developed and developing alike.  Nobody gets a pass.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, UN Climate Change Summit, September 23, 2014

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Climate Summit 2014
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“We’re showing that there’s no excuse for other nations to come together, both developed and developing, to achieve a strong global climate agreement next year.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama, G-20 press conference, November 16, 2014

U.S. President Barak Obama gestures as he answers a question from the media during a press conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
(AP photo/Rob Griffith)

Errata and Clarifications released for the Landfill Project Protocol Versions 4.0, 3.0, and 2.0

Errata and Clarifications released for the Landfill Project Protocol Versions 4.0, 3.0, and 2.0

New policy addressing City of Seattle and State of California waste diversion mandates and their effect on eligible waste streams in the OWC and OWD Project Protocols

New policy addressing City of Seattle and State of California waste diversion mandates and their effect on eligible waste streams in the OWC and OWD Project Protocols

How will you be green in 2015?

How will you be green in 2015?

As we kick off the new year, we’re making our resolutions and planning for a super green 2015. As environmentalists, we’re excited to embark on a new path to reduced emissions (and increased savings)! Please share how you’ll be greening your 2015 in the comments below!

* * *
I’m going to try and commit to biking to work ~80% of the time and buy less packaged produce.
– Stephen

I’m going to mirror Gov. Brown’s ambitious plans for California and cut my petroleum use in half.
– Rhey

This year I am volunteering on a committee to help my town develop a new Energy Plan to guide the Town’s efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of energy use by government, schools, residents, and businesses.
– Max

We’re making a bunch of green improvements at home in 2015: installing a tank-less water heater, removing most of the lawn in the front yard, and planting a bunch of trees to provide shade from the LA sun.
– Katy

This is just the latest incarnation of my long-standing love for thrift stores and charity shops, but 2015 marks my first serious foray into furniture refinishing! I’ve been in the market for a new desk, and last week I found a sad little Art Deco-esque piece at my local Goodwill that didn’t seem too far off from ending up in a landfill. I’ve already put in a fair amount of time with (non-toxic, biodegradable) paint stripper. This weekend will be sanding and oiling, and it should be good as new!
– Sarah

I plan to be green in 2015 by riding my bike more often. I usually wait until May and Bike to Work week to kick off my bike riding, but when the weather is nice I plan to ride as much as possible before then.
– Gillian