Carbon dioxide monitoring refers to tracking how much carbon dioxide is produced by particular activity at a particular point in time. For example, it may refer to tracking carbon dioxide emissions from land use change, such as deforestation or agriculture, or from burning fossil fuels, whether in a power plant, automobile, or other device. Because carbon dioxide is the most common of the greenhouse gasses causing global warming, monitoring carbon emissions is widely seen as crucial to any effort to reduce emissions and thereby slow climate change. Monitoring carbon emissions is key to the cap-and-trade program currently being used in Europe, and will be necessary for any such program that may be launched in the United States. The lack of reliable sources of consistent data on carbon emissions is a significant barrier to efforts to reduce emissions. Sources of such emissions data include:
Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA)- An online database provided by the Center for Global Development, that includes plant-level emissions for more than 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies around the world, as well as the total emissions from power generation of countries, provinces (or states), and localities. Carbon emissions from power generation account for about 25 to 30 percent of all global CO2 emissions. Similar databases do not yet exist for other emissions sources.