PARCMAN: National Parks Carbon Management Tool. Background, Guidelines and Methodology.
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National parks have a responsibility to determine and reduce their carbon footprint, given the growing threat of climate change and their unique role as custodians of US natural and cultural resources. However, conducting a carbon footprint analysis can be an overwhelming task due to resource constraints and an information overload. Multiple established protocols exist to assist with greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting initiatives. However, no discussion or comparison of these protocols exists in the literature. Therefore, I conducted an analysis of four prominent GHG inventory protocols to determine the most appropriate for use in national parks. I examined the comprehensiveness, usability, transparency and applicability of the IPCC 2006 Guidelines, GHG Protocol Initiative Corporate Standard, EPA Climate Leaders Guidelines, and Climate Friendly Parks program relative to GHG management in national parks. All four protocols offer detailed guidance for developing carbon footprint analyses in national parks with the Climate Friendly Parks program proving to be the most appropriate. The analysis highlighted four characteristics that are necessary for a user-friendly, high quality GHG inventory protocol: explicit source data, a calculation tool, flexibility, and a discussion of uncertainty. The results of this assessment were used to develop a new calculation tool, referred to by the acronym PARCMAN, to facilitate carbon footprint analyses in national parks. This report provides an overview of the inventory protocol assessment, and PARCMAN tool, guidelines and methodology.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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