Researchers from Princeton University and the University of California-Irvine recommend assessing powerstations in terms of lifetime carbon. They argue that approval of future projects should depend on lifecycle costs, and not just annual emissions. They note a general lack of insight into commitment accounting among the general public.

They go on to point out that the commitment rate for coal generation averages 176 metric tons of carbon dioxide per gigawatt of generating capacity across plant lifetime, while the equivalent for gas is marginally more than half. It is becoming evident that we need more immediacy including commitment accounting when factoring long-range pollution into our investment decisions.