A refined set of GHG inventory guidelines for 2019
All national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory compilers need to follow a set of guidelines that are written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and adopted for international use by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
This ensures that GHG inventories from different countries are compatible with each other and in combination provide an estimate of global GHG emissions, to help underpin research and development of scientific understanding and the testing of climate models.
The IPCC is now refining the current set of GHG inventory guidelines, which were completed in 2006. To refine the guidelines, the IPCC has invited approximately 200 internationally recognised experts from a wide range of countries to collaborate, in a process that aims to finalise refined guidance for approval by the IPCC by mid-2019.
Ricardo’s emission inventory experts John Watterson and Glen Thistlethwaite are among those who have been invited to take part in this once-in-a-decade event. John is working on part of the energy sector as a Lead Author and Glen on the industry sector as a Review Editor.
The work will ensure the scientific validity of the 2006 IPCC guidelines, and consider scientific and other technical advances that have matured sufficiently since 2006. It will provide supplementary methodologies for sources or sinks of GHGs. However, this will only be where there are gaps in the existing guidelines, where new technologies and production processes have emerged requiring elaborated methodologies, or for sources or sinks that are not well covered by the 2006 IPCC guidelines. It will provide additional or alternative up-to-date information and guidance for inventory compilers, including new methods and updated emission factors for many sources.
The experts are grouped by sector; for example all the energy experts are working as a team. Cross-sectoral work between these teams also ensures that the guidelines are coherent and internally consistent, for example the energy team will work with the forestry team on issues of biomass combustion.
There are a series of meetings as part of the work. These are deliberately hosted at different locations around the world to help spread the travel burden fairly and to offer countries the opportunity to host IPCC meetings. The current meeting is in Cairns, Australia. Skype conferencing technology will be used, but the face-to-face group meetings offer the opportunity to interact with a wide set of sectoral experts in a way that teleconferencing does not.
The result of the many hours of work, which every government will have the opportunity to review, will be an IPCC Methodology Report – the ‘2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories’. This will mean the world will have a refined set of GHG inventory guidelines for use over the next 10 years, to help develop a more complete and accurate dataset that reflects current technologies and scientific knowledge. And that surely is a ‘good thing’.
Once finalised, the Refined Guidelines will need to be adopted for national inventory reporting. We anticipate that the Guidelines will help to inform scope, methods and emission factors used in a range of national, sub-national, city-level, organisational and corporate reporting mechanisms. Ricardo is keen to see how work in this area develops and looks forward to the possibility of working with government and industry further to help interpret the impacts of the Guidelines.
To find out more about GHG inventories and Ricardo’s work in this area, please visit https://ee.ricardo.com/climate-change/greenhouse-gas-inventories