Updating the Cool Farm Tool Calculation – CFT Version 1.0 Release Plan

UPDATE 22. SEPTEMBER: DESCRIPTION OF CHANGES ADDED

 Background

The Cool Farm Tool first existed as a spreadsheet providing many of the GHG emission calculations that are present in the online tool today. Since the service was converted into a web application in 2013, most of the core calculation has not changed. There has been continuous work to improve the User Interface (UI), to open the calculation to other sustainable agriculture management systems through Application Program Interfaces (API) and new Pathways such as Water and Biodiversity. It’s been an extraordinary journey and we’re proud to have shared it with you.

The Need to Change the Calculation

The core calculation has not changed over these years as users are relying on older assessments for comparisons to measure their progress in reducing GHG emissions over time. An adequate grace period and notification to introduce such changes was always considered essential by members. However, over the time updating the models became increasingly necessary due to

  • Evolving Science in a rapidly moving world where we see greater accuracy and precision in our understanding of practices that directly relate to the calculation in the CFT.  For example, the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Inventories has been updated through the 2019 Refinement – we really want to bring the value of these changes to you.
  • Known Calculation Issues: No system is perfect, and the CFT is no exception. Over time a small number of errors in the calculation have been detected which haven’t been fixed for the same reason new science hasn’t been implemented – to maintain stability for assessment comparisons over time. 

Maintaining the current status brings the Cool Farm Tool further away from being state-of-the-art. Thus it is crucial to fix known errors and keep up with the latest science to ensure the calculations are accurate, consistent and reliable at this critical juncture in the Decade of Action

Description of Upcoming Changes

To provide transparency and understanding of the above mentioned updates in the Cool Farm Tool, we would like to share with you a list with descriptions of all planned items that will be available in the new CFT 1.0. This contains also information on whether new data needs to be collected in case of new available options. The development team is engaged to design the updates that they do not affect existing assessments in the short term.

Click the list to open the details and descriptions:

CFT Version Release Plan

The Cool Farm Development Team has created a plan to deliver the needed changes. The key components of the plan are:  

  • Communication Schedule (available) – regular updates on the new CFT Version release with sufficient lead time, considering this page as main platform for this;
  • Delivery Schedule (available) – a detailed plan of activities to implement the change;
  • Set of Science Updates (available) – description of the new science and the impacts on results; 
  • Set of Bug Fixes (available) – description of the bugs fixes and the impacts on results; 
  • Sandbox CFT Future Version 1.0 – external test environment (sandbox) for members users testing to complete readiness and opportunity to run test assessments and compare them with results in the live CFT version 0.11;
  • DEPLOYMENT of Version 1.0 of the CFT – a major milestone in the CFT journey;
  • Sandbox CFT Version 0.11 – access to version 0.11 of the CFT in external environment for a limited time to run assessments for comparison and analysis (members only).

Base Period Recalculation

The GHG Protocol Agricultural Guidance stipulates the circumstances under which the base period inventory should be recalculated:

Automatic Recalculation

The CFT UI design is particularly well suited to respond to this – once the new version 1.0 is deployed, all assessments will be calculated automatically by version 1.0 as soon as you call them to the screen. Additionally, if you run a comparison in the UI between your latest assessment and any historical assessment, the results of both will be calculated by the latest version 1.0 allowing for like for like comparison and understanding of the impacts of farm management decisions. 

Test and Measure Impact

Once developer testing is completed, a code freeze will be implemented and volunteering member users can test the calculation changes to minimise the risk of issues being delivered into the live tool. Once the new version is satisfactory, all issues are resolved and all tests passed, the Go-live version of 1.0 will be available in the Sandbox environment. At this point member users will be able to compare the results of both the live (v 0.11) and test assessments (v 1.0), inferring any differences in results for assessments with identical inputs to changes in the calculation. 

Next Steps

In case of questions, contact support@coolfarmtool.org