Mila joins the Carbon Call to address reliability and interoperability in carbon accounting for the planet
SAN FRANCISCO – February 10, 2022 – Over 20 leading organizations on Thursday announced an initiative to accelerate the development of reliable and interoperable carbon emissions accounting, which is necessary to help the world reach net zero by midcentury. The Carbon Call mobilizes collective action, investment and resources from scientific, corporate, philanthropic and intergovernmental organizations to enable access to data and science that is reliable and up to date and can be easily exchanged among carbon accounting systems.
Reliable measurement and accounting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is critical to climate accountability and attribution. According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the gap in underreported GHG emissions “ranges from at least 8.5 billion to as high as 13.3 billion tons a year.” Today, carbon accounting suffers from data quality issues, measurement and reporting inconsistencies, siloed platforms, and infrastructure challenges. This makes it difficult to compare, combine and share reliable data, particularly for companies.
The Carbon Call uncovers and addresses gaps in existing global carbon accounting systems, focusing on carbon removal and land sector, methane and indirect emissions. The Carbon Call will work collectively to identify where more accurate information is needed to improve reliability and advance interoperability by design — both in carbon accounting reports (or ledgers) and the data ecosystems that support them.
The Carbon Call is hosted by ClimateWorks Foundation, and participating organizations include Capricorn Investment Group, Climate Change AI, Corporate Leaders Group Europe, Global Carbon Project, Global Council for Science and the Environment, International Science Council, LF Energy, Linux Foundation, Microsoft, Mila, the Quebec artificial intelligence institute, Skoll Foundation, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (collaborating organization), and United Nations Foundation. Participating organizations of the Carbon Call work to advance the development of universal accounting methodological standards, enable expanded access to reliable GHG emissions and removal data, and strengthen the interoperability of digital accounting infrastructures.
Signatories to the Carbon Call support the enabling conditions needed for a more reliable global system of interoperable carbon accounting reports (or ledgers). To that end, signatories commit to report GHG emissions and offset information comprehensively, including all scopes and classes of GHG emissions, annually and transparently. Signatories include Capricorn Investment Group, Deloitte, EY, GSK, KPMG, Microsoft, and Wipro.
The outputs of the coalition will be widely available, and organizations are encouraged to learn more and sign on by visiting www.carboncall.org.
What participating organizations and signatories are saying about the Carbon Call
Mila, the Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute
Yoshua Bengio, founder and scientific director of Mila, said, “A key challenge to addressing the climate crisis globally is effectively accounting for carbon so a price can be put on it. Machine learning has the potential to offer a solution, but this requires that data from multiple sources be interoperable so they can be aggregated and used in analysis. MILA is pleased to be part of the Carbon Call collaboration to build a road map to ensure interoperability of carbon data and improve carbon accounting.”
Capricorn Investment Group
Ion Yadigaroglu, managing partner at Capricorn Investment Group, said, “We invest billions of dollars into climate solutions, and we are now deploying significant capital into carbon removal in order to meet our net zero commitment. But this only registers at the scale of the climate crisis if we can keep track of the global balance between greenhouse gas emissions and removals. We are joining the Carbon Call to support the creation of a transparent and science-based ledger for carbon accounting. This will be an important building block for net zero investing.”
Climate Change AI
David Rolnick, Co-Founder and Chair, Climate Change AI, Assistant Professor, Mila Core Member and Canada CIFAR AI Chair, McGill University, said, “The mission of Climate Change AI is to catalyze impactful work at the intersection of climate change and machine learning. Machine learning has already proved helpful in gathering data on emissions and carbon stock and may be of use in supporting verification and assessment of progress on emissions reductions. We are excited to collaborate with the Carbon Call to advance the interoperability and reliability of carbon accounting systems in the service of climate action.”
Surabi Menon, vice president of global intelligence at ClimateWorks Foundation, said, “To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must deliver on effective infrastructure this decade that supports credibility of net zero targets. Accurate carbon accounting is fundamental to holding polluters accountable and knowing where focus on climate action is most needed. The Carbon Call will build on existing efforts by bringing together civil, business and philanthropic actors to accelerate the development of more reliable and interoperable systems for tracking emissions.”
Corporate Leaders Group Europe
Eliot Whittington, director of Corporate Leaders Group Europe, said, “As action on climate change scales up and becomes mainstream, we’re seeing a growing trust gap as new promises are made without the tools and systems to track delivery. The Carbon Call is a much-needed rallying point for efforts to improve the accountability, transparency and readability of data on carbon emissions across the economy — an indispensable tool in closing that trust gap. Better collaboration for more transparent, more clear and more useful data will help the world keep track of climate pledges and give insights into how to improve and accelerate delivery of the Paris Agreement. CLG Europe is proud to support the Carbon Call and join efforts to enable the development of more reliable global carbon data and consequently faster climate action.”
Steve Varley, global vice chair, sustainability at EY, said, “As businesses realize their role in tackling climate change, pledges and promises must be evidenced by progress and performance. A global, reliable and interoperable system for improved GHG accounting is critical for our efforts to accelerate action and track progress at scale. EY is excited to be joining this collaboration across a broad range of stakeholders that will help create value for all.”
Global Carbon Project
Rob Jackson, chair of Global Carbon Project, earth scientist at Stanford University, and senior fellow of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, said, “As scientists, we track increasing concentrations of methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are warming the earth. But because of incomplete and inconsistent emissions reporting and a scarcity of monitoring stations, it is difficult for us to track where emissions originate and whether they are being cut sufficiently in a given country or region. We are pleased to be part of the Carbon Call, which cuts across science, civil society and the private sector to develop more comprehensive and integrated emissions reporting.”
Global Council for Science and the Environment
Michelle Wyman, executive director of the Global Council for Science and the Environment, said, “Collaborations, partnerships and accountability between scientists and decision makers are vital to advance the use of science to address environmental challenges. The Carbon Call seeks to collaborate and facilitate various industries and organizations from local, national and global levels to develop a reliable global carbon accounting system. The Global Council for Science and the Environment is pleased to support the Carbon Call initiative to strengthen an interoperable global system of GHG accounting for the planet.”
International Science Council
Leena Srivastava, deputy director general for science at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, said, “The world needs to limit warming to no more than 1.5 degrees. Staying within this goal requires accelerating decarbonization through strategies that incentivize inclusive green growth. Many of these strategies rely on carbon accounting, which is still in its infancy. The Carbon Call’s focus on interoperability and transparency is critical to building a reliable carbon accounting system. Science has a key role to play. Science is needed not only to expand availability to reliable emissions and removal data but also to design strategies that ensure trusted governance.”
Bill Thomas, global chairman and CEO of KPMG International, said, “Progress on climate action demands all of us working together to achieve positive change on a vast scale. That’s why KPMG is excited to be a founding signatory of the Carbon Call. Together, we can help build a more sustainable future for all.”
Shuli Goodman, executive director of LF Energy, said, “Open source and interoperable data and technologies are critical to accelerating decarbonization of our economies. LF Energy provides a neutral, cooperative community that is building those shared investments that will help the world to meet the urgency of climate change. This is why we are excited to be part of the Carbon Call’s mandate to enable interoperability within the carbon accounting infrastructure.”
Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said, “At Linux Foundation, we help grow open technologies ecosystems to transform industries. A key part of our work is enabling collaboration for building protocols interoperability. We are excited to be part of the Carbon Call to support and expand collaboration in building interoperability in the carbon accounting infrastructure to help accelerate climate action.”
Lucas Joppa, chief environmental officer at Microsoft, said, “With so many organizations now committing to net zero, one key piece is still missing: a transparent and interoperable system to track, report and compare GHG emissions and removals. The Carbon Call is a collaboration to enable reliability among the multiple, different GHG accounting ledgers — from the corporate to the national to the planetary. We encourage all organizations committed to net zero to join us.”
Bruce Lowry, senior advisor at Skoll Foundation, said, “Climate change requires urgent, collective and coordinated action, including protecting forests and managing land use better. But accounting data for emissions and carbon removal by forests and other sectors remains siloed, making it difficult for countries and companies to plan and take action. By catalyzing a more robust, interoperable global accounting system, the Carbon Call will enhance carbon accountability broadly. Having forest data integrated into a reliable global accounting system will give local communities, companies and countries stronger evidence of the value of preserving forests.”
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
Christopher Field, Perry L. McCarty director at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said, “Natural climate solutions can be important contributors to solving the climate crisis; at the same time they provide valuable co-benefits for communities, economies and ecosystems. Getting the accounting right is a critical foundation for building Natural Climate Solutions into a comprehensive strategy for decarbonization. Stanford Woods Institute is pleased to be collaborating on the Carbon Call to support efforts that enable more reliable, transparent and integrated approaches to accounting for nature-based carbon dioxide emissions and removals.”
United Nations Environment Programme (collaborating organization)
Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, director of the United Nations Environment Program’s economy division, said, “With the scaled-up engagement the private sector saw at COP 26 and the large number of new commitments and pledges, it is crucial that we have a more transparent reporting system, one that builds confidence in the reported reductions of financial institutions, industries and cities. The Carbon Call will build on existing reporting initiatives in creating a coherent and transparent common reporting format, once that ensures comparability of reporting.”
United Nations Foundation
Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation, said, “The science is clear: the pathway to 1.5°C is rapidly narrowing. To meet our climate goals and save our planet for future generations, we need to slash emissions significantly — and immediately. The Carbon Call is a welcome step toward ensuring greater accountability and credibility for climate commitments made across sectors.”
Narayan P.S., VP and global head of sustainability and social initiatives at Wipro Ltd., said, “In the run-up to COP26, we have seen an encouraging increase in commitments from countries on emissions reductions, adding up to an estimated two-thirds of the global economy. We are also seeing a concomitant increase in corporate commitments with more than 2,000 companies that have set science-based targets. While these are very positive developments, it is absolutely critical that carbon accounting used to calculate GHG emissions is transparent and based on science-based methods. We are happy to support the Carbon Call’s objectives of building a reliable system of GHG accounting with a focus on some of the less understood areas like land use change and carbon removals.”