New carbon monitoring resources available via the Web

If one of your near-year-end resolutions is to build out the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reporting for your company, there are a couple of new resources that have been released in the past week.First off, Sun Microsystems has updated the tools that are available on the OpenEco.

If one of your near-year-end resolutions is to build out the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions reporting for your company, there are a couple of new resources that have been released in the past week.

First off, Sun Microsystems has updated the tools that are available on the OpenEco.org community Web site.

The calculator widget on the site now accounts for a broader range of emissions sources (adding utilities such as steam or handling business travel as an example) and it supports carbon accounting practices. So, that means the calculations that you gather and run from the site can be compared against the frameworks for the World Resources Institute Greenhouse Gas Protocol or the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Leaders Program, to name just two. The other thing that you should know is that the site can accommodate organizations of all different sizes, so if you're a small business or individual, you can run some figures, too.

Lori Duvall, Eco Responsibility Program Manager for Sun, says there are now more than 600 organizations and 2,000 individuals using the site to monitor and manage their greenhouse gas emissions.

The other resource you might want to check out is the non-profit American Carbon Registry, formerly called the Greenhouse Gas Registry. Along with the relaunch, the organization is publishing what it's calling the American Carbon Registry Standard, which lists out greenhouse gas accounting principles as well as the guidelines that a business must meet before being listed. Resources such as the registry will play a role under the emerging U.S. federal cap-and-trade emissions infrastructure. Here's an opinion from The Los Angeles Times on what a cap-and-trade system would mean for a state like California. The point of a resource like American Carbon Registry is to help get companies ready before legislation is like to fall into place under the mandatory system that will be proposed by President-elect Barack Obama's new administration. (Obama has pledged to put a system in place that requires auction of pollution credits and that will divert the money into programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.)