The mission and goals of the Climate Action and Accounting SIG include "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.  

Work plan for 2023

We coordinate most of the work for this working group through the bimonthly Standards WG call. The work plan for the working group is set out in this document. The most practical way to get involved is to join this call. Please check the calendar for the next call. 

The 2023 work plan involves:

  • SSSOM maps that map AIAO to at least two prominent greenhouse gas accounting standards.
  • A SHACL shape graph that can be used to validate the conformation of annotated data to AIAO.
  • Tagged impact documents from at least 10 representative case studies, stored in an appropriate open source graph database. One of the case studies will be the work of our sister working group, the Carbon Accounting and Certification WG of CA2-SIG.
  • EITHER (a.) an AI model to annotate further documents according to AIAO, OR (b.) a SPARQL endpoint for querying annotated climate impact data. 

Progress and opportunities to contribute

For the latest version of our taxonomy of protocols, standards, methodologies and certifications, head over to this page. The taxonomy is by no means complete yet, so feel free to add, improve and expand! You'll find some TODOs at the bottom of the page.

For the latest version of our ontology and its application guide, check out this page. You will find a bunch of TODOs there that you can pick up and run with, e.g., embedding our ontology into the ISO/IEC Basic Formal Ontology (BFO).

Some further results and ideas are taking shape under the New ideas, debates and discussions page. If you like to go down rabbit holes or debating things, this page is for you.

The best way to start contributing is, however, by joining our biweekly calls. Please check the calendar for the next call. 


What do we mean by 'standards'?

The term 'standard' is used in a variety of contexts - even within the scope of the CA2-SIG a variety of things are denoted with the term 'standard'. These include:

  • technical standards like those of the W3C;

  • accounting standards, including:

    • Greenhouse Gas Protocol;  

    • the standards used for compliance purposes in different jurisdictions (e.g., the CDM project standardCalifornia Air Resources Board (CARB));

    • voluntary standards like the Verra's Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Gold StandardSocial CarbonAmerican Carbon Registry (ACR), Climate Action Reserve (CAR), and The Plan Vivo Foundation;

    • standards for entity-level accounting within various scopes; 

    • standards for local/regional/national inventories;

  • environmental performance standards like those of the IFC;

  • standards related to products; and

  • standards for accounting for policy impacts.

What are standards used for?

Standards are used for many things, among which:

  • personal climate footprinting

  • product/service footprinting

  • entity accounting (scope 1, 2 and 3)

  • regional accounting

  • policy impact assessments

Standards are relevant at different phases of the climate accounting process:

  1. There are standards for measuring aspects of activities and processes. Let's call these measurement collection standards. These standard are focussed on measurements and concern things like the calibration and correct use and instruments. Application of these standards produce valid measurement data.
  2. There are other standards that standardise the transformation, evaluation and aggregation of data and metadata. We can call these calculation methodologies or data processing standards. Application of such standards produces indicators, metrics and indices with a well-defined meaning. Such outputs can be tokenised.
  3. Another type of standard concerns claims or assertions about entities or activities, such as the yearly emissions of a company or the climate impact of a project. We can call these reporting standards. Application of these standards yield standards compliant reports. The contents of such reports can also be tokenised.
  4. There are also standards that concern the process of measuring, reporting and verifying itself and the persons who carry out such assessments. We can call these quality standards and verification or certification standards. Application of such standards produce certifications or assurance.

What is standardised?

  • Entities: This is the problem of identity. We mean the identity of people, organisations and things. It is needed to connect an unambiguous identifier to all the entities involved in the accounting process. In the case of businesses, this may be difficult because businesses may have complicated structures of ownership and control (see for example Chapter 3 of the GHG Protocol: Corporate Accounting Standard).

  • Agency: This is the problem of responsibility - how do we show and prove that an entity (be that a person or organisation) is responsible for a certain action or outcome?
  • Activities and events: Agents do things that affect their surroundings at some point in time.

  • Counterfactuals: This is the problem of what would have happened if certain decisions had not been taken or certain actions had not been undertaken.  

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 the relationship between standards, authority and freedom in the context of the work of the CA2-SIG?

The CA2-SIG 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

Refer to this page for more information.

Get Involved

This is an open source project. Anyone is welcome!

1) Start by subscribing to the Climate SIG mailing list for updates and meeting notifications.

2) Add your name to the active members list below.

3) Join the CA2-SIG Standards WG calls that are held on every other Tuesday of the month at 8 AM US Pacific time (UTC-07:00 America/Los Angeles)Please check the calendar for the next call. 


Join the CA2-SIG Standards WG calls that are held on every other Tuesday of the month at 8 AM US Pacific time (UTC-07:00 America/Los Angeles)Please check the calendar for the next call. 

Active Members

Christiaan PauwNova Institute
Alex Howard


Alfonso GovelaHyperledger Latinoamerica Chapter
Kyle RobinsonBrairtech Consulting Inc.

Other Contributors

Tom BaumannClimate Chain Coalition
Martin WainsteinYale Openlab
John BarassiOhvation
Si ChenOpen Source Strategies, Inc.
Sherwood MooreICANN
Jeff PribichIndependent
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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 = https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/sustainable-finance-teg-taxonomy-tools_en (focus on mitigation tabs)
    Technical report = https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/200309-sustainable-finance-teg-final-report-taxonomy_en.pdf
    Technical annex = https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/200309-sustainable-finance-teg-final-report-taxonomy-annexes_en.pdf

    As well as OECD report on common tabular reports for UNFCCC ETF on NDCs: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/environment/reporting-progress-towards-nationally-determined-contributions_a23de32d-en

    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 (www.interwork.org) launched a new sustainability/climate business WG on Sep 17. One item they are working on is a Carbon Emission Token Specification - https://github.com/InterWorkAlliance/TTF/tree/master/artifacts/token-templates/specifications/CET/latest

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

        1. Thanks, Tom Baumann.  I've been thinking about this and am putting it together under Emissions Tokens Network

  8. Related to the scope of the standards WG, recently I co-authored a paper together with experts from the Blockchain Lab at York University's Schulich School of Business titled "Towards Ontology and Blockchain Based Measurement, Reporting, and Verification For Climate Action" which is under review and posted at SSRN - https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3717389

    1. Hi Tom.  Nice to speak with you again today.  Sorry but nothing comes up when I click on that link.

      1. Hi Si - if you Google the title the link and downloadable PDF should appear. Try this link -                      Download This Paper                                      

        Best, Tom

  9. I've attached the paper here also.


    1. Got it.  Thanks!

  10. March 2020 - "Climate Change TimeLine: an ontology to tell the story so far"


  11. One of the readings from Carbon Removal Academy was Microsoft's Carbon Removal Lessons from an Early Corporate Purchase In short, Microsoft is looking for 1. net negativity 2. scientific verification 3. avoidance of harm and clear standards ensuring that the carbon offset or removal is additional i.e. would not have been possible without the offset/project. For scientific verification Microsoft sought out ICROA approved standards, some of which are already listed in the wiki (I put in green): Clean Development Mechanism  Climate Action Reserve  Gold Standard  Joint Implementation  Verified Carbon Standard  American Carbon Registry  Emissions Reduction Fund of the Australian Government  UK Woodland Carbon Code. Tom Baumann maybe you have attached info on this, but I haven't seen it yet: How does an open source accounting system provide means to verify a carbon flow as certified and backed up by one of these entities?

  12. Christiaan Pauw- are you familiar with the work of the GBBC and their Global Standards Mapping Initiative? Link:  https://gbbcouncil.org/gsmi/gsmi-2/

  13. No, thanks. I will look into it

  14. Christiaan Pauw MA Howard   Sherwood Moore  - Marley Gray at Interwork Alliance shared this content w/ me on linkedin - seems freshly created https://interwork.org/interwork-alliance-issues-guidance-on-tokenization-standards-for-voluntary-ecological-market/ and content: 

    1. Thanks for flagging Alex Aruj ,this is really interesting.  Si Chen Dounia MarbouhMay also find this of interest related to the Voluntary Carbon Offset Directory Research Project that is being initiated under the Climate Research WG.... At the very least the players involved with putting this report together might be potential stakeholders we could engage for the research paper?

    2. Thanks. I will study this. We can discuss this on our next Standards WG call