The ACT will try to measure its indirect carbon emissions - such as those created in the production of food and goods used in Canberra - and set targets to reduce them.
The Australian-first initiative could pave the way for Canberra consumers to be told the carbon cost of the products they are buying, or for changes in government procurement.
ACT's current climate targets only account for emissions created in the territory, not ones created by the goods and services used in Canberra but produced elsewhere.
Emissions Reduction Minister Shane Rattenbury has commissioned a report tasked with coming up with ways to reduce ACT's indirect emissions and figuring out how best to measure them.
UNSW has been paid $78,000 to complete the work.
"While [indirect emissions] are generated outside of our borders, the ACT still shares responsibility for them, as they are generated to make the products we use and consume," the contract said.
"Changes to the ACT's [indirect emissions] can reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases produced, all of which are released into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change, regardless of their location."
Mr Rattenbury said ACT's higher than average income meant individuals consumed more and were therefore often responsible for more carbon emissions.
"It's things like the emissions that are embedded in the food we consume, embedded emissions in the refrigerator that you buy, construction products that come in," he told The Canberra Times.
"Say they are made in NSW, the emissions will be counted in NSW for the manufacture, but we are driving those emissions in some way
"We don't measure them in the ACT under out greenhouse gas inventory, no government does under the accounting rules for standard climate accounting.
"They don't relate to our target but what they do relate to is our overall impact and certainly we identified in the current climate strategy that we want to start looking at scope 3 emissions."
He said there was currently no consistent way to measure a jurisdiction's indirect emissions.
"Everyone knows it's an issue that's out there but no one really knows how to tackle it," Mr Rattenbury said.
"If we can work out how to do it we can inspire others and hopefully work out how to take action.
"It's perhaps a bit of a new frontier in measuring how we tackle climate change."
While the research is not aimed at creating new taxes, the information could be given to consumers to help them inform their decisions.
It could also change the way government procurement takes place.
"If we work out, for example, some product that we need a lot of in Canberra, where we get it from is a particularly high emissions intensive version, can we source it from somewhere different where it's produced with less emissions?" Mr Rattenbury said.
"We've got a lot of good corporate citizens who would also use that information to change their procurement as well."