PG&E includes “Scope 4” emissions in its “Climate Strategy Report”

PGE Scope 4 YouTube Thumbnail

Here’s a note from Brett Jacobs about PG&E’s new “Climate Strategy Report”:

Just when you thought you had Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions nailed… along comes Scope 4 avoided emissions in the newly published “Climate Strategy Report” from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

But wait. Before you all scream “green wash!” let’s take a moment.

My own view is that Scopes 1, 2 and 3 globally and for all entities describe the total GHG emissions from anthropogenic activity. Avoided emissions indicates that an entity is not adding to the global emissions problem, and/or that it has contributed to energy efficiencies within its #scope3 value chain. (Bear in mind the difference between avoiding, reducing and removing emissions for the #carbonoffsetting debate – but I won’t complicate this post with that can of worms.)

In other words, the quantum of “Scope 4” could represent the evidence of success in reducing Scopes 1, 2 and 3 emissions, although PG&E should tread carefully as it should not be misconstrued as a mystical fourth pillar that accelerates the #racetozero or “bending the curve” to achieve the objectives of the #parisagreement.

To be fair, PG&E notes the unofficial nature of “Scope 4” and will have more work to do to offer a formula or detailed data behind its “Scope 4” figures, but the concept is a novel precedent for measuring a company’s success in influencing the broader decarbonization of its sector.

The Bloomberg News article on the topic provides further comment and valid caveats and critiques from notable names including Pankaj Bhatia and Laura Draucker.

Whether or not the “Scope 4” label sticks, the concept – quantifying, explaining and proving the influence that a company has in driving #decarbonization and the #energytransition – is highly desirable and investable for #impact-focused mandates, and PG&E’s commitments to #climateaction and a #naturepositive energy system should be welcomed for the scale of ambition and vision that they represent.