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The mission and goals of the Climate Action and Accounting SIG includes "to turn this network into action under a common open source project that defines shared protocols, standards, and platform tools for a globally integrated climate accounting system to be operationalized."

This working group will focus particularly on the "protocols and standards" that will enable consistent climate accounting.  

TSC Working Group Updates


  1. Develop a taxonomy of available climate action-related standards in a way relevant to the mission of the CA2SIG.

  2. Develop a consistent way to capture existing certifications as transactions in any of the Hyperledger blockchain frameworks.

  3. Implement a proof-of-concept chain for aggregating, reporting and possibly trading certified outcomes.

  4. Develop and populate a taxonomy of available methodologies in a way relevant to the mission of the CA2SIG.

  5. Implement a proof-of-concept transactional chain containing transaction processors and data structures and identifiers.

  6. Develop and populate a taxonomy of available certification processes.

  7. Implement a proof-of-concept transactional chain for verification / certification.

  8. Develop one vertically integrated use case.


What do we mean by 'standards'?

The term 'standard' is used in a variety of contexts. Even within the scope of the CA2SIG a variety of things are denoted with the term 'standard'. These include:

  • Technical standards like those of the W3C 

  • Accounting standards, including:

  • Environmental performance standards like those of the IFC

  • Standards related to products

  • Standards for accounting for policy impacts

What are standards used for?

  • Personal climate footprinting

  • Product/service footprinting

  • Entity accounting (scope 1, 2 and 3)

  • Regional accounting

  • Policy impact assessments

What will the working group deliver and who will use it?

There are other bodies that create the types of standards mentioned above. This working group will be more concerned with how such standards themselves and compliance to these standards are encoded and captured in a distrubuted ledger and how such representations can be used. 

What is standardised?

  • Entities

  • Activities and events

  • Agency

  • Counterfactuals

What is the relationship between standards, authority and freedom in the context of the work of the CA2SIG?

The CA2SIG will not act as an authority that compels entities to engage in specific actions. 

The standards to be generated by this working group will enable agents to clearly communicate the implications of their actions. This will enable others to have a clear understanding of the state of affairs regarding the activities and states covered by the standards. 

How will we translate standards into software?

Find the most generic articulation of what a standard, method and transaction is and develop protobuffer examples of each

  • Namespaced Merkle tree 

  • Protobuf examples

How to Get Involved

  1. Add your name to the active members list below. 
  2. Comment on and expand the text. At the moment the essential task is the clarification of the scope. 

Taxonomy of protocols, standards, methodologies and certifications

A. Technical Methodologies

These are "algorithms" for calculating carbon emissions:

  • Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) - this is the standard analytical method for calculating the carbon emissions of a product through its lifecycle.  OpenLCA is an open source life cycle analysis software.
  • Product Category Rules (PCR) - these rules define how life cycle analysis should be performed based on the type of product.  See this article for one example of the relationship between LCA, PCR, and EPD.

B. Accounting Standards

These are standards for calculating and disclosing carbon emissions.

General Standards

  • Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) - comprehensive disclosure of the full environmental impact of a product, where carbon footprint is just one variable.  This seems to be used more commonly in building and construction, for example for LEED certifications, but is referenced as a potential source for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.  See an example of a construction material's EPD and an elevator's EPD.
  • Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG) - this is a comprehensive set of standards for measuring greenhouse gas emissions for a company or a product.  It is the base standard for many "carbon neutrality" certifications.
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) - these are voluntary disclosures that companies could make through a series of surveys.  They are used by large companies to disclose carbon emissions to the investor community.

Industry Specific Standards

  • Whole Building Lifecycle Assessment - specific to buildings and construction, these standards are used to calculate the carbon content of a building based on its construction and materials.  This is important because most of the carbon footprint of buildings is during the construction rather than the operation of the building.  Click here for more about embodied carbon.

Certifications based on Accounting standards

These are certifications based on accounting standards, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

  • Carbon Neutral - developed and owned by Natural Capital Partners, which has 20 years of experience and implemented this standard for 300 companies in 33 countries. 
  • PAS 2060 - developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI) as an open standard.
  • Climate Neutral - a new standard developed by entrepreneurs in the fashion industry and currently run by a nonprofit group.  Their goal is to make it easier for companies to take climate action and become carbon neutral.

C. Carbon Offsets

These are standards for carbon offsets and could in turn be divided into sub-categories:


Mandatory offsets are those based on international treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement, or by government regulations such as those in the European Union or California.  (I'll leave this category to someone who has more expertise.)


Voluntary offsets are those purchased by companies and individuals to offset their emissions.  There are many standards that govern voluntary offsets – some of the best known ones include:

D. Renewable Energy Certificates

Some background information about Renewable Energy Certificates from PJM

Glossary and definitions


All Hyperledger meetings are run covered by the following Antitrust Policy.

Meeting Agendas

Meeting Notes

Communication Channels

These are the mechanisms that this working group uses to communicate.

Mailing List

Chat Channel

Links to Ongoing Work

Links to Completed Work

Links to External Resources

Active Members

Christiaan PauwNova Institute
Alex Howard

Nova Institute

Tom Baumann

Climate Chain Coalition

Martin Wainstein

Yale Openlab

Si ChenOpen Source Strategies, Inc.
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  1. First attempt at identifying the questions whose answers will hopefully lead to the approprite formulation of the scope and mission

  2. Hi All,

    I'm attaching a 2010 document I co-authored for ISO about GHG standards. It is old but still helpful for helping to approach / organize the scope.

    Best, Tom

  3. Hi All,

    I'm attaching a 2009 presentation I gave to the United Engineering Foundation about GHG standards. It is also old (e.g. forecasts of GHG market size), but the parts on standards is still relevant.

    Best, Tom

  4. Hi All,

    Here's a link to a post I authored in ISO's magazine about nextgen standards for the post-Kyoto era (pp 42-45). It conveys many of the key points I explained in the report I did for the Blockchain Research Institute (attached).

    Best, Tom

  5. Hi All,

    The Transparency Partnership (formerly the Partnership on Mitigation and MRV) is an online knowledge hub with many relevant resources to assist with landscaping and developing taxonomies. In addition, ClimateTagger can also be helpful. Also attaching a report about taxonomies and ontologies for climate action.

    Best, Tom

  6. Following the regular SIG call yesterday, in the Standards WG breakout we discussed some relevant climate taxonomies and frameworks including:

    EU sustainable finance taxonomy:
    Excel = (focus on mitigation tabs)
    Technical report =
    Technical annex =

    As well as OECD report on common tabular reports for UNFCCC ETF on NDCs:

    I consider the above as "top down" perspectives, and that MRV from the "bottom up" for specific projects, technologies, products - such as CDM project methodologies, among others - needs to merge together.

  7. The InterWork Alliance ( launched a new sustainability/climate business WG on Sep 17. One item they are working on is a Carbon Emission Token Specification -

    1. Tom Baumann That github link is broken.  Would you mind checking it?