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GHG Gases as in BRSR Report – explained for professionals

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in its Guidance Note to the Business Responsibility and Sustainability Reporting (BRSR) format as in Annexure II, clearly indicates in point 6 under Principle 6 [Businesses should respect and make efforts to protect and restore the environment] the Details of Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and GHG intensity. It mentions the following gases as included in the term ‘green-house gas’:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)

  • Methane (CH4)

  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)

  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

  • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

  • Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

Important Note: Any trade in the #GHG cannot be considered in these scopes. In other words, buying or selling of GHG from any #Carbon Exchange etc. or under any international protocol cannot be considered within the scope 1 and scope 2 above.

The #GuidanceNote further mentions the following points which are more or less self-explanatory:

2. Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the entity. Source refers to any physical unit or process that releases GHG into the atmosphere. Further, any emissions that are not physically controlled but result from intentional or unintentional releases of GHGs, such as equipment leakages, methane emissions (eg: from coal mines), shall also be included in the calculations.

3. Scope 2 emissions are energy indirect emissions that result from the generation of purchased or acquired electricity, heating, cooling, and steam consumed by the entity

4. Entities may, on a voluntary basis, provide a breakup of the Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions into CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6, NF3.

5. The entity shall exclude any GHG trades (purchase, sale or transfer of GHG emissions) from the calculation of Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions.

6. The unit for the disclosures shall be metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Further, entities should disclose the standards, methodologies, assumptions and/or calculation tools used, including sources of the global warming potential (GWP) rates and emission factors used.

7. Scope 1 and Scope 2 emission intensity per rupee of turnover shall be calculated as the total Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions generated divided by the total turnover in rupees.

8. Apart from turnover, entities may on a voluntary basis, provide Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emission intensity ratio, based on other metrics, such as: • units of product; • production volume (such as metric tons, litres, or MWh); • size (such as m2 floor space); • number of full-time employees

The listed entities, while preparing their BRSR Report, must keep the above points in mind. It is very important for them to collect accurate data of GHG emissions in respect of the entity’s operations for proper GHG accounting.

GHG Emissions Management System

In order to properly manage the GHG emissions by an entity it is important to understand the meaning and types of GHG gases.

Definition of Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are some gases in the earth's atmosphere that absorb heat and emit radiant energy. When the sun shines during the day, it warms up the earth's surface, but after sunset, the surface cools down, and releases heat back into the air. During this process some of the heat gets trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It may be noted that GHGs are stronger and last a shorter time in the atmosphere than others, which are less potent but last longer. Types of Greenhouse Gases

There are numerous forms of GHG emissions that cause climate change; the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) held in Glasgow in October – November 2021 lists seven main types of GHGs. It requires that using the national GHG inventories, each country will report on its progress towards the COP26 targets. The following are the seven types of GHGs explained:

Carbon dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide is a gas that is released into the atmosphere as a by- product of burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil as well as other solid waste, trees, and other biological materials (e.g., manufacture of cement). When carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle, it is taken out of the atmosphere (sequestrated).

Methane (CH4): When coal, natural gas, and oil are produced and transported, methane is released into the atmosphere. Land usage, livestock, various agricultural practises, and the decomposition of organic material in municipal solid waste landfills all contribute to methane emissions.

Nitrous oxide (N2O): It is a gas that is released during the processing of wastewater, the burning of solid waste, and industrial, agricultural, and forestry operations.

Fluorinated gases HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3: These are manmade, potent greenhouse gases that are released through a range of domestic, commercial, and industrial applications and processes. These gases include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). Compared to other greenhouse gases, fluorinated gases are normally emitted in smaller amounts, yet they are powerful greenhouse gases. They are sometimes referred to as high-GWP gases because, for a given amount of mass, they trap far more heat than CO2, with GWPs that typically vary from thousands to tens of thousands. The global warming potential (GWP) of each GHGs must be stated in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents according to reporting guidelines in order to make it easier for organisations and governments around the world to record emissions in tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e).

Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Multiplying the tonnes of each gas emitted in a given year by its GWP value yields the reporting entity's overall tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) emissions. For instance, reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide would result in a decrease of 1 tCO2e, whereas reduction of one tonne of methane would result in a reduction of 25 tCO2e. The following table lays down the potential GWP of the Green House Gases and lists their sources:

​Greenhouse Gas Type

GWP

Source of emission

Carbon Dioxide

1

The burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation is the principal human activity that produces CO2. A few industrial procedures and alterations in land use also produce CO2.

Methane

25

Globally, a total of 50 - 65% of total CH4 emissions come from human activities. Methane is emitted from energy, industry, agriculture, land use, and waste management activities, landfill and animal waste decomposition, natural gas, oil and coal production.

Nitrous Oxide

298

Around 40% of all N2O emissions worldwide are caused by human activity. A number of activities, including farming, land use, transportation, manufacturing, and fertilizers (e.g., used in agriculture), nitric acid production from manufacturing, biomass combustion, wastewater treatment, stationary combustion, manure management, agricultural soil management etc.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

124 – 14,800

By-products of industrial processes (e.g., chemical production)

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

7,390 –12,200

Manufacture of semi-conductors, refrigeration equipment, aluminum

Sulphur hexafluoride

22,800

High voltage circuit breakers, switchgear

Nitrogen trifluoride

17,200

Manufacture of semiconductors and LCD panels, certain types of solar panels and chemical lasers


[Opinions expressed are author’s personal]


Author Profile: Dr. Paritosh Nandi holds a Ph.D. degree in Solar Energy Engineering. He is also a Certified Energy Manager and Certified Energy Auditor by Ministry of Power, Government of India. He has been instrumental in developing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in organisations for the last eleven years and has hands on expertise in ESG. For more detailed profile visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/paritoshnandi/ Author can be reached at paritoshnandi@gmail.com


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