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Innovative Forest Carbon and Consumption-Based GHG Inventory


Start: September 2019
End: May 2020
Client or funder: Town of Phillipstown, NY with funding from the Climate Smart Community Grant Program, Title l5 of the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. With additional charitable donations provided by The Endeavor Foundation, Inc, other community foundations and individual donors.
Collaborators: The Climate Smart Communities Task Force of Philipstown The Ecological Citizen’s Project


Philipstown’s Sink, Store, Reduce, Offset GHG inventory was developed in partnership between resident-action group, The Climate Smart Communities Task Force of Philipstown, local community empowerment nonprofit the Ecological Citizen’s Project, ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA.

Altogether, the inventory establishes an innovative baseline from which the community can explore implications for achieving local carbon neutrality.

The innovative GHG inventory is one of the first in New York State to use local data to measure the lifecycle carbon-emission associated with the goods and services residents consume and to estimate the work of natural resources to remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, in addition to traditional approaches that quantify emissions associated with transportation, energy production and other sectors. Taken together, consumption-based and production-based emissions inventories provide a powerful starting point to evaluate climate action: Whereas traditional methods highlight jurisdictional control of emissions sources, consumption is about the control that exists at the household level.

Project Activity

The inventory is particularly innovative in using data on consumption patterns from a survey of over 200 residents to estimate consumption emissions, while other consumption-based inventories have relied on downscaling national data sources. Estimates for Philipstown’s consumption-related emissions — 198,703 metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent (MTC02e) for the Town of Philipstown, which translates to 55.5 MTC02e per household or 20.4 MTCO2e per person — are 83% higher than production-based estimates. Most communities in the United State will have a larger consumption-based inventory than production-based, while communities with large industrial facilities likely will have a larger production-based inventory.

The GHG inventory was guided by the U.S. Community Protocol for Accounting and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, developed by ICLEI, and serves as a science-based tool to guide Philipstown’s efforts to pursue climate mitigation activities called for by the international community. Sink, Store, Reduce, Offset offers recommendations for future action, including establishing a local fund to support a carbon-neutrality campaign.


ICLEI developed the comprehensive and innovative greenhouse gas inventory for the Town of Philipstown. To get local-level food and consumption data, ICLEI co-developed a survey to inform the consumption-based parts of the inventory.

Read the full report.

Those Involved

Town of Philipstown, NY

“Collectively as a community, we are committing to lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. In order to do that, we need to know where we are now. This greenhouse gas inventory report will be the map for our journey to a brighter, more sustainable future for all of us and for future generations.” – Richard Shea, Supervisor, Town of Philipstown, NY