A comparison of carbon accounting tools and an evaluation of their potential for greenhouse gas mitigation
This paper presents the findings of a study that compared a number of carbon accounting tools suitable for European farm businesses, including CALM, IMPACCT, CPlan, COOL and others promoted by retailers, the aim being to evaluate their ability to guide farmers to adopt more climate friendly practices. The various tools were first characterised regarding, for example, their approach to the calculation, their scope and boundaries, the targeted end-user and purpose (e.g. marketing, assurance, benchmarking, policy). Using standardised scenarios the outputs from each tool were compared and evaluated in terms of their sensitivity to changing practices, their ability to identify areas for improvement, the significance of output variance in this context and, finally, model functionality. Results revealed a number of positive characteristics in the studied models, but showed that few are sufficiently detailed to be useful for practical on-farm climate change mitigation across Europe.