How do I use the dashboard?
Use the navigation pane on the left to see emissions broken down by sector. Each page will have emissions data as well as strategies and actions associated with the sector in the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan.
How are greenhouse gas emissions measured?
TRPC estimates greenhouse gas emissions using a protocol developed by the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and the World Resources Institute. This protocol lays out internationally accepted methods that enable comparisons with emission inventories prepared by other cities and counties. The inventory gathers data on actual activity in Thurston County—including electricity and natural gas use, vehicle miles traveled, solid waste and wastewater—then uses standard equations to calculate how those activities translate into emissions from different greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Emissions from those greenhouse gases are then converted to metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MTCO2e) based on their global warming potential.
What emissions sources are included?
The Thurston region’s inventory is sector-based “plus”, which means it mostly includes emissions generated within the Thurston region from different categories of activity (including buildings, transportation, water, solid waste, agriculture), as well as the emissions that result from the production of energy used in the Thurston region and from the transportation and processing of solid waste to a landfill outside Thurston County. It does not include many types of emissions generated by consumer activity in Thurston County that occur outside of the region, such as the manufacturing of goods purchased by people in Thurston County or air travel by residents of Thurston County.
What about consumption-based emissions?
Some greenhouse gas inventories are consumption-based, meaning that they account for the full impact of choices made by people that contribute to global emissions, such as travel to places outside the area and goods purchased and consumed here that are manufactured elsewhere. Emissions from these activities are generally not included in the sector-based inventory used for the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan. The University of California Berkeley developed a tool called “Cool Climate” that estimates consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions for zip codes based on national household surveys, economic models, and local data. Using this method, the region’s total carbon footprint was approximately 5.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent as of 2013.This estimate provides an alternative picture of the Thurston region’s climate impact, but relies on less specific local information than the sector-based inventory we use to develop policy. Read more about consumption-based inventories and the estimate for the Thurston region.
Source: UC Berkeley CoolClimate Network, Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint (2013).