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Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active

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Yet Another Carbon Calculator? Why the need?

need carbon calculator carbon accounting carbon auditing carbon consultancy AI PR drawdown reputation management

Free, accurate, transparent carbon reporting, auditing and consultancy – what’s new and different about See Through Carbon’s innovative approach to speeding up carbon drawdown

See Through Carbon is created by a global team of experts with a diverse range of expertises, impelled by the following shared commitments:

Focus on Carbon

  • Getting Worse: We’ve allowed the climate crisis to turn from a ‘future problem’ into a ‘now problem’. 
  • Blind Alley: ‘Offsetting’, growing into a trillion-dollar industry while emissions continued rocketing up, is now exposed to be cheap, virtue-signalling, PR-badging, an increasing reputational risk for anyone hoping for their ‘green’ credentials to be taken seriously.
  • Irredeemably Bust: Since the first carbon credit in 1988, carbon trading, theoretically beguiling, has proved itself ineffective. Voluntary, inaccurate, opaque, proprietary, convoluted, commercial emissions accounting standards have ruled themselves out as credible solutions to the existential crisis we’ve created.
  • At last: Voluntary reductions are belatedly, but rapidly, being replaced by government regulation. Mandatory accurate carbon reporting is exposing the limitations of the current emissions accounting system.
  • Currently Intractable: Big businesses can afford to pay commercial carbon accountants, auditors and consultants. Their supply chains, which may form 90% of a multinational’s emissions footprint and 70% of total global emissions, can’t, and never will be able to pay for such services – even if mandated.

Money Obstructs: Money-denominated mechanisms, especially voluntary ones, are ineffective tools for rapid decarbonisation.


Carbon Concentration: Measure success not via the proxy metric of money, but instead use the same fixed physical unit used by climate scientists – metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced or sequestered (‘CO2e’).


  • Perfectly Possible: High standards and aspiring to perfection are important, but not as important as doing what’s possible now, and constantly improving. Good enough is way better than nothing.
  • It’s Urgent: The climate crisis is a current emergency. Our fossil fuel addiction has produced in 150 years the scale of atmospheric changes that took millions of years naturally. Words matter, but action counts.
  • Top Priority  Meaningful greenhouse gas reduction must determine every decision. Other considerations (human rights, democracy, equality, gender, race, sexuality, even morality), while important, are secondary, as addressing them depends on the scaffolding of human civilization. Both can be addressed at the same time, and may not be in conflict, but without prioritising carbon reduction, we’ll soon lose the ‘luxury’ of dealing with such issues.
  • Alien Perspective: The proverbial alien, observing Earth for the first time, might wonder why a recently-dominant species, only 300,000 years old itself, treats something it made up 5,000 years ago (money) more seriously than something all planetary life has been made of for billions of years (carbon).  

CO2e>$: There are already an overwhelming number of distractions from our core task of speeding up carbon drawdown without adding using money as a proxy indicator of success. Better to miss out the seductive middle man, and deal directly in tonnes of CO2e.


Prize Eyes:  Using CO2e, rather than money, as an output metric, guarantees maintaining focus on the critical issues. The first, and only, question we need ask is ‘Is this the shortest route to measurably reducing the most carbon?’.


  • Progress Paradox: We’ve understood the problem of climate change, and have had the technology to solve it, for half a century, yet emissions still increase. 
  • Inadequate Science: This failure shows that cutting-edge tech, user-friendly tools, and updated conversion factors based on the latest research are all necessary, but not sufficient, for rapid decarbonisation. 
  • Human Factor: ‘The science’, in isolation, doesn’t address the fundamental challenge: how to move a species evolved to prefer beguiling lies to inconvenient truths from inaction, to action. 
  • Easily Thwarted: We are neophobic mammals, evolved to fear change. Humans are good at coming up with excuses for inaction, and there are too many well-resourced vested interests exploiting this to delay change.

What Happens Next?: The Narrative is just as important as The Science, and each needs to serve the other. Rapid decarbonisation will require better stories, better told, using a wide range of platforms, tailored to move different audiences from climate inaction to climate action. 


Scientific storytelling: Create engaging, appealing, low-friction ways to incentivise people & businesses to reduce greenhouse gases while remaining focused on their business – with and without regulatory pressure. Start with what we know people like – reality shows, podcasts, social media, community, music, sport – and design them to work as first steps on a smooth journey that ends in measurable emissions reduction. 


  • Realistic Aspirations: Accurate carbon reporting ‘simply’ reflects physics, but the real world is too complex, interconnected for measuring carbon footprints ever to be perfect. 
  • Not Straightforward: Carbon accounting teems with technical challenges and methodological controversies: how far to stretch the Scope 3 net, project v. life-cycle approaches, insetting rules, whether double-counting matters, to name a few.
  • Everyone’s Different: Different sectors present unique challenges. The only practical way for any single carbon accounting brand to be comprehensive, is to dynamically aggregate the best available evidence-based conversion factors for each sector. 
  • Avoid Bogs: The elusiveness of perfection is no reason not to strive to measure carbon as comprehensively, consistently and accurately as current science permits.
  • Carbon v Money: Financial auditing is a useful analogy for those unfamiliar with carbon accounting, but has a fundamentally different purpose. Money is an abstraction invented by humans, requiring detailed allocation of nominal ‘liabilities’ and ‘assets’ to sustain the integrity of its elaborate global cross-system of promises and IOUs. Carbon accounting measures real-world physics, with the specific goal of speeding up carbon drawdown to mitigate the worst effects of human-induced climate change.

Transparent Solution: The best practical way to reflect best practice and evidence is to be open-source and transparent, rather than opaque and proprietary. This invites robust scrutiny, enabling the standard to be promptly upgraded whenever more accurate science emerges. 


Trusted Brand: By aggregating under one brand the best available open source conversion standards and accessing specialist commercial databases via mutually-beneficial free licensing agreements, See Through Carbon is designed to consistently provide the best available standards.


  • Insufficient Evidence’ : Now the climate consequences of our fossil fuel addiction have arrived in the form of floods, fires and famine, we have ample evidence that catastrophic weather events are insufficient on their own to shift governments, let alone businesses or people, from climate inaction into speeding up carbon drawdown. Denial is a human trait. Ostriches are actually checking the eggs in the sandy nests.
  • Timing is Everything: Human-induced climate change has happened at a geologically instantaneous pace, but its impacts are still too distant, slow, or sporadic for it to hit home at the scale of an individual human’s ‘common sense’ perception. As Covid proved, humanity is not systemically well organised to coordinate a response to an existential threat, even a relatively mild one unfolding at a scale measured in days and kilometres rather than decades and continents. 
  • Business is Business: Any approach to decarbonisation that doesn’t adapt to the world as it currently is (i.e. driven by money and commerce) is unlikely to work. Appealing to the greater good, stat-bashing, or martyrdom, have historically not proved to be effective climate strategies.
  • Talk Business:  More effective approaches include: identifying areas where commercial advantage and greenhouse gas reduction overlap, pulling familiar levers of market forces and competitive advantage, and engineering win-win scenarios that are good for business and reduce CO2.
  • Leverage Regulation: More stringent carbon reporting requirements and enforcement means it matters less whether any individual regards it as ‘just more red tape’, or is willingly compliant because they understand their importance and urgency.  
  • Exploit Reputation: Not all corporate activity is required to directly boost profits. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, increasingly replaced by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) successors, are obliged to benefit society. Any company with such a programme has a ready-made mechanism to support See Through Carbon by providing valuable goods and services with no strings attached, beyond measurable carbon reduction.
  • Creative Incentives: Where government regulation has yet to percolate, or the penny has yet to drop, See Through Carbon creates other incentives to help the Inactive become Active. Our mantra is to think outside the box, but keep greenhouse gases in our sights. 

Talk Business: Using CO2e as a sole metric risks being ineffective unless See Through Carbon harnesses commercial logic, market forces, and recognises real-world cost/benefit.


Be Adaptable: See Through Carbon exploits the pressure brought by new reporting compliance rules as they emerge (like mandatory Carbon Reduction Plans for Pilot 4: UK/Health Services). Where such reporting is not yet required, we collaborate with creative specialists to construct transparent Trojan Horses to breach any hesitancy.

  • Pilot 1: Wiltshire/SMEs incentivises local businesses to participate by bartering free advertising in See Through News’ dominant community Notice Board Facebook groups.
  • For Pilot 6: Global/Agriculture, TV professionals at See Through Together created a reality TV show,  Betting The Farm, to nudge sceptical, conservative farmers into accepting the gift horse of free carbon reporting, auditing, and consultancy.
  • For Pilot 2: UK/Live Music, as no one else has yet even asked the question, let alone researched the answers, for evidence-based conversion factors to estimate the emissions contribution of live music audiences, we did it ourselves. See Through Carbon will make our conversion factors, research and methodology available open source for anyone else with a genuine interest in making live music ‘green’.


  • Problem or Solution?: Just when we need to reduce all current emissions sources, the data centres powering AI’s growth threaten to become a major new emitter. Still, carbon drawdown’s global scale and massive complexity make the judicious application of AI particularly appropriate as part of the solution.
  • Data Quantity: Commercial data businesses, including carbon accounting standards, derive shareholder value from controlling access to siloed, proprietary data sets. Rapid drawdown requires the opposite – the pooling of massive datasets based on consistent, transparent methodologies.
  • Data Quality: AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on. As the post-Chat GPT hype bubble deflates, we’re better understanding the importance not just of data quantity, but of data quality.

Judicious Use: The emissions costs of using AI can be massively offset by its potential to put its astonishing capacity to process, order, analyse and present massively complex datasets. Datasets don’t get much more complex than *all human greenhouse-gas emitting activity*.


AI Optimised: See Through Carbon has involved AI experts from the start. Its pilots not only test the robustness and flexibility of its calculation, auditing and CO2-reducing consulting processes, but  provide the foundations of a high-quality, consistently-tagged, human-expert-moderated data training set designed to optimise any AI application.


  • No Choice Now: Reputation-sensitive companies are having to rapidly adapt to a new environment where emissions reporting is no longer voluntary. Regulations now make it a technical challenge to meet compliance rules at a minimum, and demonstrate best practice as a maximum.
  • One Direction: Vested interests will continue to lobby for delay, dilution and diminution, but unless you believe the trend towards mandatory reporting will be reversed in the long term (or that climate change will be ‘fixed’ in our lifetimes), requirements for accurate carbon reporting will only become more stringent for the foreseeable future. 
  • Pioneer Opportunity: This presents a unique window of reputational opportunity for early adopters of non-greenwashing approaches like See Through Carbon, which is only interested in measuring real-world carbon footprints as accurately as possible, and promoting the rapid reduction of those footprints.
  • Delay Drawback: Companies that fear a ‘PR backlash’ if their public carbon footprint ‘looks bigger’ when subjected to accurate and comprehensive analysis are unsuited to be thought leaders. Regulation means they’ll be obliged to do so in the future anyway, but will have missed the PR opportunity (if they choose to see it like that) of being an early adopter. 
  • First Come…: There can only be one first adopter of See Through Carbon in any sector, conferring permanent proof you take emissions reduction seriously. If rivals try to contrast the ‘carbon neutral’ badges they’ve paid for with your ‘bigger carbon footprint’, they gift you an opportunity to educate and explain the real purpose of emissions accounting, i.e. to demonstrate how much you’re reducing, not how small a number your money can buy. Meanwhile, you get further ahead of the game.
  • Business Unusual: As many global brands are finding even in a voluntary environment, paying commercial standards to issue a ‘carbon neutral’ badge on the basis of ‘offsetting’ exposes you to significant reputational risk. Choosing between pleading naivety/ignorance, or doubling-down on discredited offset schemes, is defensive damage control, not positive image presentation.
  • Different Department: When accurate emissions reporting becomes mandatory, it moves from being a discretionary matter (i.e. the responsibility of the PR Department) to one of obligation (i.e. for the Compliance Department). If companies don’t already realise this, they soon will.
  • Serious Statement: Contrasting attitudes to financial statements and emissions accounting reports demonstrate the need to take carbon as seriously as money. Companies that accept publishing annual financial statements publicly as ‘normal’ see making their equivalent carbon footprint reports public as ‘sensitive’, ‘potential embarrassments’, or ‘providing ammunition to competitors’. For serious progress, this must change.

Goodbye Greenwash: The era of low-cost virtue signalling while continuing Business As Usual is ending. If greenhouse gas reporting regulation hasn’t yet hit you, it soon will. People and businesses might prefer to ignore it, but there’s only one direction of travel – towards accurate carbon reporting.  See Through Carbon is aimed at businesses that want to lead, rather than follow, when it comes to meaningful carbon reporting.


Integrity Imprimatur: For customers, employees and anyone uninterested in the detail, having a publicly visible See Through Carbon page confers an instant imprimatur of credibility and integrity. For shareholders, investors, compliance inspectors, nit-picking journalists and anyone interested in the details, a publicly visible See Through Carbon page provides a verifiable, credible, independent audit trail which can’t be ‘bought’. 

If you can’t buy integrity, why should you be able to sell it?