Technical Support to the World Bank’s Greenhouse Gas Accounting

[Photo by Leo Mongendre]

Since 2012, the World Bank (WB) has carried out mandatory accounting of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) for all of its investment project financing. This GHG accounting is undertaken internally by operational teams in Global Practices, prior to appraisal, as an ex-ante estimate that includes project emissions (gross/absolute emissions), baseline emissions, and net emissions. Net emissions figures are then aggregated at key sectors level and reported annually. In addition, the Bank is committed to reporting aggregated gross GHG emissions going forward.

Third-party assessor to ensure additional quality layer

In 2018, the WB Climate Change Group introduced an additional layer of quality assurance to ensure accuracy of GHG estimates (against WB-approved sector-specific GHG accounting guidance) and adequate application of the Shadow Price of Carbon (SPC). As part of this process, Climate Focus has been selected to act as the Bank’s third-party assessor, validating GHG calculations, evaluating the proper application of WB-approved methodologies (and correct SPC figures).

For each assessment, three Climate Focus staff are involved. The lead assessor for the project provides a first evaluation, and passes it on to a co-assessor (typically more experienced in the specific project type) to validate his/her findings. The project manager is then responsible to arbitrate any remaining suggestions provided by first/second reviewers and finalize the evaluation before it is sent back to the WB. We particularly concentrate on the following GHG accounting aspects:

  • Project boundary
  • Economic timeframe
  • Emissions scopes (net/gross)
  • Baseline/project scenarios
  • Data and assumptions used for the calculations
  • GHG Calculations and correct application of the relevant methodology
  • Application of the SPC

600 project reviews in five years across all sectors

By 2023, we expect that the Climate Focus team, led by senior consultant Leo Mongendre, will have reviewed approximately 600 WB projects across the energy, transport, agriculture, water, solid waste, environment and urban sectors, gaining an intimate understanding of WB-approved sector-specific GHG accounting methodologies and guidance, and supporting The Bank in shaping its future approach to GHG accounting along the way.