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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends and projections

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends and projections

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Contents
 

Justification for indicator selection

Climate change is one of our greatest environmental, social and economic threats. The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 

In order to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, countries (referred to as 'Parties') having signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agreed to cooperate with a view of limiting the increase in global average temperature and the resulting climate change. In this context, the industrialized countries need to annually prepare and submit precise and regularly updated inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

'Internationally, the main instrument to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. The Kyoto Protocol runs in two commitment periods; the first one started in 2008 and ended in 2012, whereas the second started in 2013 and will end in 2020. At the same time the European Union (EU) has set its climate change mitigation objective for 2020, committing itself to reducing its emissions by at least 20 % compared to 1990 levels (30 % subject to the conclusion of a comprehensive international climate change agreement) [2].

In order to assess the progress of the EU and its Member States, as well as of other EEA member countries, towards their national, European and international commitments, the historic and projected GHG emission trends should be taken into account.

Scientific references:

  • IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2014 (AR5) The  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  prepares at regular intervals comprehensive  Assessment Reports  of scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, potential impacts of climate change and options for mitigation and adaptation. Four Assessment Reports have been completed in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. The  Fifth Assessment Report  (AR5) provides a clear and up to date view of the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to climate change. It consists of three Working Group (WG) reports and a Synthesis Report (SYR) which integrates and synthesizes material in the WG reports for policymakers. The SYR will be finalized on 31 October 2014.  The SYR of the previous Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) can be found here .

Indicator definition

The present indicator (CSI010) presents total and sectoral trends of anthropogenic GHG emissions in Europe from 1990 onwards and assesses the progress of the EU, individual Member States and other EEA countries towards their GHG targets.

The indicator provides information on emissions from the main anthropogenic GHG sources, distributed by main emitting sectors, according to the IPCC nomenclature. In addition, the indicator shows the past and projected GHG emissions in the ETS and non ETS sector, in accordance with the EU legal scheme.

Unless otherwise mentioned, the indicator does not cover emissions from international bunkers (international aviation and maritime transport), which are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, these emissions are not taken into account in the total GHG emissions reported at national and EU levels.

Emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) are not included in total national greenhouse gas emissions.

Geographical area

The indicator covers all 28 Member States of the European Union. Some figures also include information concerning other EEA Member States.

Period covered

The indicator covers annual emissions since 1990.

Units

Greenhouse gas emissions are expressed in 'million tonnes CO2-equivalent' (Mt CO2-eq.)

Policy context and targets

Context description

The UNFCCC sets an ultimate objective of stabilizing GHG concentrations 'at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.' It also requires precise and regularly updated inventories of greenhouse gas emissions from industrialized countries. 

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC, which sets binding targets for industrialized countries and the European Union for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It runs in two commitment periods; the first one started in 2008 and ended in 2012, whereas the second started in 2013 and will end in 2020. The EU and its Member States have signed up to the Protocol. 

The European Union, as a party to the UNFCCC and to the Protocol, reports annually on the greenhouse gas emissions within the area covered by its Member States. The Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory and inventory report, officially submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat, is prepared on behalf of the European Commission (DG Clima) by the EEA and it's European Environment Agency's European Topic Centre for Air and Climate Mitigation (ETC/ACM), supported by the Joint Research Centre and Eurostat.

In 2007, EU leaders committed to a 20% reduction of EU's GHG emissions by 2020 on the basis of the 1990 GHG emissions (14% decrease in GHG emissions between 2005 and 2020). The EU has also committed to increase to 20 % the share of renewable energies in the EU final energy consumption (with a minimum 10 % share in the transport sector) and to save 20 % of the EU’s energy consumption through increased energy efficiency (“20-20-20” objective).

The EU Climate and Energy Package adopted in 2009 sets a legislative framework to achieve the 20% GHG emissions reduction objective in a two-fold way: a 21% reduction of emissions covered under the EU ETS compared to 2005 levels, to be achieved across the whole EU, and an effort to reduce emissions not covered by the EU ETS by about 10% compared to 2005 levels, shared between the EU-28 Member States through differentiated annual national GHG targets under the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD).

The current indicator aims to present an assessment of progress of the EU and the individual countries towards their international and national targets, under the Kyoto Protocol (in both commitment periods: 2008-2012 and 2013-2020) and under the ESD respectively. The indicator is based on the official GHG inventories submitted by the EEA countries and the EU to the UNFCCC as well as on the projected GHG emissions submitted by the Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation 525/2013, MMR). In order to calculate the distance to the national ESD targets, emissions reported in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) are also taken into account.

 

 

Targets

First commitment period (CP1), 2008-2012

For the first commitment period (2008-2012), the 15 States who were EU members in 1997, when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, took on an 8% reduction from base year target that has been redistributed among themselves, taking advantage of a scheme under the Protocol known as a “bubble”, whereby countries have different individual targets, but which combined make an overall target for that group of countries The differentiated targets are set out in the Annex II to the Council Decision 2002/358/EC concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the other (non EU-15) Member States (apart from Cyprus and Malta) have individual targets. Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia have reduction targets of 8 % from the base year, while Hungary and Poland have reduction targets of 6 % and Croatia has a reduction target of 5 %. Of the additional EEA member countries, Norway and Iceland are allowed to increase emissions under the Kyoto Protocol by 1 % and 10 %, respectively, from their base-year emissions. Switzerland and Liechtenstein have reduction targets of 8 %. Turkey is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol but has no reduction target. 

The national Kyoto or burden-sharing targets for CP1 are calculated on the basis of the base-year emissions and are as follows:

Country
 
Kyoto Target 2008-2012

Austria

-13%

Belgium

-7.5%

Bulgaria [1]

-8.0%

Croatia

-5.0%

Czech Republic

-8.0%

Cyprus

-

Denmark [2]

-21.0%

Estonia

-8.0%

Finland

0%

France

0%

Germany

-21.0%

Greece

+25.0%

Hungary [3]

-6.0%

Iceland

-10.0%

Ireland

+13.0%

Italy

-6.5%

Latvia

-8.0%

Liechtenstein

-8.0%

Lithuania

-8.0%

Luxembourg

-28.0%

Malta

-

Netherlands

-6.0%

Norway

1.0%

Poland [4]

-6.0%

Portugal

+27.0%

Romania [5]

-8.0%

Slovakia

-8.0%

Slovenia [6]

-8.0%

Spain

+15.0%

Sweden

+4.0%

Turkey

-

United Kingdom

-12.5%

EU-15 (pre-2004 EU Member States)

-8.0%

[1] The base year for Bulgaria is 1988.

[2] In Commission Decision 2006/944/EC determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol, the respective emission levels were expressed in terms of tonnes of CO2-equivalent. In connection with Council Decision 2002/358/EC, the Council of Environment Ministers and the Commission have, in a joint statement, agreed to take into account inter alia the assumptions in Denmark's statement to the Council Conclusions of 16-17 June 1998 relating to base-year emissions in 2006. In 2006, it was decided to postpone a decision on this until after all Community and Member State initial reports have been reviewed under the Kyoto Protocol.

[3]
The base year for Hungary is the average of 1985-1987.

[4] The base year for Poland is 1988.

[5] The base year for Romania is 1989.

[6] The base year for Slovenia is 1986.

Second commitment period (CP2), 2013-2020

The EU, its 28 Member States and Iceland agreed to a joint quantified emission reduction commitment of 80% under the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period (2013-2020). This is equivalent to a 20 % reduction compared to base-year levels. They also offered to move to a 30 % reduction by 2020, provided that other developed countries commit themselves to comparable emission reductions and developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities.

EU GHG targets for 2020

The unilateral 20% GHG reduction target in the context of the EU Climate and Energy Package  corresponds to a 14% decrease of emissions between 2005 and 2020. The target is to be achieved both in the sectors covered by the EU ETS (21 % reduction of EU ETS emissions compared to 2005 levels) and in the other sectors covered by national emission targets under the ESD.

The ESD targets used in the indicator are consistent with the EU ETS scope for the third trading period (2013–2020), based on Commission Decision 2013/162/EU of 26 March 2013 on determining Member States' annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 90, 28.3.2013, p. 106–110) and Commission Implementing Decision 2013/634/EU of 31 October 2013 on the adjustments to Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 292, 1.11.2013, p. 19–22).

The ESD targets (2020 % target compared to 2005 and annual absolute targets consistent with the 2013-2020 ETS scope and GWPs from the IPCC AR2) are presented in the table below:

 

Country

2020 target (%)

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Austria

-16.0%

51.6

51.0

50.5

50.0

49.5

48.9

48.4

47.9

Belgium

-15.0%

77.2

75.7

74.2

72.7

71.2

69.7

68.2

66.7

Bulgaria

20.0%

25.6

25.8

26.0

26.3

26.5

26.8

27.0

27.2

Croatia

11.0%

19.0

19.2

19.4

19.6

19.8

20.0

20.2

20.4

Cyprus

-5.0%

5.6

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

5.5

Czech Republic

9.0%

60.6

61.3

62.0

62.8

63.5

64.2

65.0

65.7

Denmark

-20.0%

35.9

35.0

34.1

33.2

32.4

31.5

30.6

29.7

Estonia

11.0%

6.1

6.1

6.2

6.2

6.2

6.2

6.2

6.3

Finland

-16.0%

31.0

30.5

30.0

29.6

29.1

28.6

28.2

27.7

France

-14.0%

383.1

378.7

373.9

369.2

364.4

359.6

354.9

350.1

Germany

-14.0%

463.8

457.2

450.6

443.9

437.3

430.6

424.0

417.3

Greece

-4.0%

56.9

57.1

57.4

57.7

58.0

58.3

58.6

58.9

Hungary

10.0%

48.9

50.0

51.1

52.2

53.3

54.4

55.5

56.6

Ireland

-20.0%

44.8

43.7

42.6

41.6

40.5

39.4

38.3

37.2

Italy

-13.0%

300.5

298.7

296.9

295.1

293.3

291.5

289.7

287.9

Latvia

17.0%

9.0

9.1

9.2

9.2

9.3

9.4

9.5

9.6

Lithuania

15.0%

12.4

12.7

13.1

13.4

13.8

14.2

14.5

14.9

Luxembourg

-20.0%

9.5

9.3

9.1

8.9

8.7

8.5

8.3

8.1

Malta

5.0%

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

1.1

Netherlands

-16.0%

119.7

117.5

115.3

113.2

111.0

108.8

106.7

104.5

Poland

14.0%

186.9

188.1

189.2

190.4

191.5

192.7

193.8

195.0

Portugal

1.0%

47.1

47.4

47.6

47.9

48.2

48.5

48.8

49.0

Romania

19.0%

71.6

73.3

75.0

76.7

78.5

80.2

81.9

83.6

Slovakia

13.0%

22.9

23.3

23.6

24.0

24.3

24.7

25.1

25.4

Slovenia

4.0%

11.9

12.0

12.0

12.0

12.0

12.1

12.1

12.1

Spain

-10.0%

220.9

219.1

217.4

215.6

213.9

212.1

210.3

208.6

Sweden

-17.0%

40.8

40.2

39.6

38.9

38.3

37.7

37.0

36.4

United Kingdom

-16.0%

350.2

345.8

341.4

337.0

332.7

328.3

323.9

319.5

Related policy documents

  • Commission Decision 2013/162/EU
    Commission Decision of 26 March 2013 on determining Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Commission Implementing Decision 2013/634/EU
    Commission Implementing Decision of 31 October 2013 on the adjustments to Member States’ annual emission allocations for the period from 2013 to 2020 pursuant to Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council
  • Council Decision (2002/358/EC) of 25 April 2002
    Council Decision (2002/358/EC) of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.
  • Decision No 406/2009/EC (Effort Sharing Decision)
    Decision No 406/2009/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the effort of Member States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Community’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments up to 2020
  • Greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism
    Decision No 280/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 February 2004 concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol
  • Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
    Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; adopted at COP3 in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997
  • Monitoring Mechanism Regulation 525/2013
    REGULATION (EU) No 525/2013 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 21 May 2013 on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and for reporting other information at national and Union level relevant to climate change and repealing Decision No 280/2004/EC
  • Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8/9 March 2007
    Presidency conclusions of the Brussels European Council of 8/9 March 2007
  • UNFCCC
    UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories

Key policy question

What is the progress in Europe towards international commitments regarding GHG emissions?

Specific policy question

What is the progress in Europe towards domestic (internal) commitments regarding GHG emissions?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

The indicator is based on the official GHG inventories submitted by the EEA countries and the EU to the UNFCCC, as well as on the projected GHG emissions submitted by the Member States under the Monitoring Mechanism Regulation (Regulation 525/2013, MMR). 

GHG gases

In line with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories, the national inventories cover emissions and removals of the following direct GHGs

- carbon dioxide (CO2),

- methane (CH4),

- nitrous oxide (N2O),

- hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),

-perfuorocarbons (PFCs) and

-suphur hexafluoride (SF6)

from six sectors (Energy, Industrial processes, Solvents, Agriculture, LULUCF, Waste).

The gases do not include the greenhouse gases that are also ozone-depleting substances and which are controlled by the Montreal Protocol (see CSI 006). Beginning 2015, emissions of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) shall be included in the national inventories.

 Emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) are not included in total GHG emissions presented in the indicator. Unless otherwise mentioned, the indicator does not cover emissions from international bunkers (international aviation and maritime transport), which are not covered by the Kyoto Protocol. In particular, these emissions are not taken into account in the total greenhouse gas emissions reported at national and EU levels.

 In order to be aggregated, non-CO2 gases are weighed by their respective global warming potential (GWP) and presented in CO2-equivalent units. GWP are a measure of how much a given mass of greenhouse gas is estimated to contribute to global warming on a 100-year horizon.

In accordance with the UNFCCC rules, the GWP values used in this indicator are the ones used from the IPCC AR2 for the period before 2015 and the ones from IPCC AR4, for the period after 2015:

Gas

Global warming potential (GWP), values from IPCC AR2

[before 2015]

Global warming potential (GWP), values from IPCC AR4

[after 2015]

carbon dioxide (CO2)

1

1

methane (CH4)

21

25

nitrous oxide (N2O)

310

298

sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

23900

22800

nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

_

17200


HFCs and PFCs comprise a large number of different gases that have different GWPs. The full list of GWP can be found in the following links:

- IPCC AR 2: https://unfccc.int/ghg_data/items/3825.php

- IPCC AR 4: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-10-2.html#table-2-14

GHG inventories

For the preparation of their national inventories countries use the methodologies and reporting formats of the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

The IPCC Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (IPCC GPG) completed in 2000, complements the 1996 methodologies in all inventory sectors except Land–Use Change and Forestry (LUCF) source categories. In 2004, separate IPCC good practice guidance for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry was developed.

Beginning 2015, Parties shall use the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and formats for the preparation of inventories, reporting emissions in four sectors (Energy, Industrial processes and product use, Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) and Waste).

In the indicator, GHG emissions are attributed to the main emitting sectors at a disaggregated level, following the IPCC definition of source categories and the common reporting format (CRF) followed by Parties. Main references of this kind are:

  • Energy industries (CRF category1.A.1, referring to public electricity and heat production, petroleum refining and manufacture of solid fuel and other energy industries);
  • Manufacturing industries & Construction (CRF category1.A.2, referring emissions from fossil fuel combustion in industries for energy use);
  • Residential/Commercial (CRF category 1.A.4, referring to emissions from the households & commercial sectors as well as from the energy use in agriculture, forestry and fisheries)
  • Transport (CRF Category 1.A.3, including road transportation)
  • Industrial processes (CRF Category 1.B, i.e. not including emissions from fossil fuel combustion for energy use)

 

Projected GHG emissions

For the projected GHG emissions, information submitted by the EEA countries under the MMR is used. The projected GHG emissions referred to in the indicator are the ones reported under the ‘existing measures’ scenario (WEM). Moreover, the separate estimates for the projected ETS and non-ETS emissions are used to assess the distance to the national ESD targets.

ETS emissions

Emissions from the EU ETS are also presented in the indicator. The EU ETS runs in three trading periods: Phase I (2005-2007), Phase II (2008-2012) and Phase III (2013-2020).

In 2013 the scope of the EU ETS was expanded to include additional referring to (a) capture, transport and geological storage of GHG emissions, (b) CO2 emissions from the petrochemicals, ammonia and aluminium production, (c) N2O emissions from the production of nitric, adipidic and glyoxylic acid and (d) PFC emissions from aluminium production. Since 1st January 2012 aviation has also been part of the EU ETS.

Since 2013, these emissions are calculated by the plant operators that fall under the ETS obligations in line with the Regulation No 601/2012, whereas in the Phase II of the EU ETS (years 2008-2012), the  monitoring and reporting of the operators was based on the Commission Decision 2004/156/EU.

Croatia has entered the EU ETS Scheme in 1st January 2013.

Approximated GHG inventory

Finally, whenever relevant, this indicator uses data and estimates from the ‘Approximated GHG inventory’ for the year (X-1). These ‘proxy’ inventories are reported by Member States to the EEA and to the Commission under the MMR and are calculated at an aggregated level on the basis of the national and international information available for the year (X-1).

Methodology for gap filling

GHG inventories (years 1990-(X-2)):

The indicator is based on the information reported by Member States under the MMR. However, in case a Member State does not submit the inventory data required to compile the Union inventory, the Commission shall prepare estimates to complete the GHG inventories submitted by Member States in consultation and close cooperationwith the Member States concerned. In this case the Member State shall use the gap-filled inventory in its official submission to the UNFCCC. The basis of this gap-filling processes are described in the Commission Delegated Regulation of  12.03.2014 (http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/g-gas/monitoring/docs/c_2014_1539_en.pdf )

Approximated GHG inventory (year X-1):

Under the MMR, the Commission shall also estimate a Member State’s approximated GHG inventory if the Member States fails to provide it. These estimates are provided by the EEA and are country-specific. More information on the methodology used for the gap-filling is provided in the ‘Approximated GHG inventory report’ of each year.

Projected GHG emissions (year X – 2020):

In order to ensure timeliness, completeness, consistency, comparability, accuracy and transparency of the reporting of projections by the EU and its Member States, the quality of the reported projections is assessed by the ETC/ACM on behalf of the EEA. In certain cases, projections were adjusted to ensure full consistency with historic GHG emission data from the latest GHG inventories and missing data was gap-filled by the ETC/ACM.

Methodology references

  • Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory and inventory report All the data used to prepare the indicator are consistent with the latest European Community (EC) greenhouse gas inventory report. This report is compiled on the basis of the inventories of the EC Member States for EU-15 and EU-28. It is the direct sum of the national inventories. For EU-15 energy data from Eurostat is used for the reference approach for CO 2 emissions from fossil fuels, developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The methods of gap filling are explained in the inventory report.
  • Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories The 'IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories' were first accepted in 1994 and published in 1995. UNFCCC COP3 held in 1997 in Kyoto reaffirmed that the 'Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories' should be used as 'methodologies for estimating anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases' in calculation of legally-binding targets during the first commitment period. The IPCC Guidelines are approved internationally and developed through an international process which has included: wide dissemination of drafts and collection of comments from national experts; testing of methods through development of preliminary inventories; country studies which ensure that methods are tested in a wide variety of national contexts; technical and regional workshops held in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central Europe and Western Europe; informal expert groups convened to recommend improvements on specific aspects of the methodology.
  • Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories The report on 'Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories' provides good practice guidance to assist countries in producing inventories that are neither over nor underestimates so far as can be judged, and in which uncertainties are reduced as far as practicable. To this end, it supports the development of inventories that are transparent, documented, consistent over time, complete, comparable, assessed for uncertainties, subject to quality control and quality assurance, and efficient in the use of resources.
  • Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry The report on Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (GPG-LULUCF) provides supplementary methods and good practice guidance for estimating, measuring, monitoring and reporting on carbon stock changes and greenhouse gas emissions from LULUCF activities under Article 3, paragraphs 3 and 4, and Articles 6 and 12 of the Kyoto Protocol. The GPG-LULUCF assists countries in producing inventories for the LULUCF sector that are neither over- nor underestimates so far as can be judged, and in which uncertainties are reduced as far as practicable. It supports the development of inventories that are transparent, documented, consistent over time, complete, comparable, assessed for uncertainties, subject to quality control and quality assurance, and efficient in the use of resources.
  • 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories are the latest step in the IPCC development of inventory guidelines for national estimates of greenhouse gases. These 2006 Guidelines build on the previous Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines and the subsequent Good Practice reports. They include new sources and gases as well as updates to the previously published methods whenever scientific and technical knowledge have improved since the previous guidelines were issued. The UNFCCC inventory reporting guidelines are still based on the methodologies and reporting formats of the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories . However, beginning 2015 UNFCCC Parties will have to use the 2006 IPCC Guidelines methodologies and reporting formats when preparing their inventories.
  • UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories This document contains the complete updated UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories for all inventory sectors. Its aims to assist Annex I Parties in meeting their commitments under the Convention and in preparing to meet their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Commission Decision 2004/156/EC Commission Decision of 29 January 2004 establishing guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (Text with EEA relevance) (notified under document number C(2004) 130) 
  • Commission Regulation (EU) No 601/2012 COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 601/2012  of 21 June 2012  on the monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council. The regulation sets out the rules for the monitoring and reporting of the ETS emissions by plant operators, covering the scope of the Phase III of the ETS.
  • IPCC Forth Assessment Report (AR4) The  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  prepares at regular intervals comprehensive  Assessment Reports  of scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, potential impacts of climate change and options for mitigation and adaptation. Four Assessment Reports have been completed in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. The Fourth Assessment Report 'Climate Change 2007' (AR4) is composed of 4 volumes and various contributions. The AR4 Synthesis Report is based on the assessment carried out by the three Working Groups of the IPCC. It provides an integrated view of climate change as the final part of the AR4. It is written in a non-technical style suitable for policymakers. It is composed of a longer report and a  Summary for Policymakers . The GWP of the AR4 can be found here .

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

GHG inventories

(a) Difference of methodologies between countries

Since Member States use different national methodologies, national activity data or country-specific emission factors in accordance with IPCC and UNFCCC guidelines, these different methodologies are reflected in the Union GHG inventory data. The EU believes that it is consistent with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines and the IPCC good practice guidelines to use different methodologies for one source category across the EU territory especially if this helps to reduce uncertainty and improve consistency of the emissions data provided that each methodology is consistent with the IPCC good practice guidelines. At the same time the EU is putting effort to promote and support the use of higher tier methodologies across Member States. At EU level and for most of the key categories of the Union inventory, more than 75% of the EU-15 emissions are calculated using higher tier methodologies, resulting in lower uncertainty rates.

(b) GWP

According to the IPCC, the GWP values used in the IPCC 4AR have an uncertainty of ±35% for the 5 to 95% (90%) confidence range.

Projected GHG emissions

The methodology proposed consists in simple additions of data reported by Member States. However, uncertainty arises from the following:

  • projections can be subject to updates which might not be reflected in the assessment if these updates were recently made;
  • the projections taken into account are fully consistent with MS submissions under the Monitoring Mechanism. However, other sets of projections with different data might have been published by countries (e.g. national allocation plans, national communications to UNFCCC).

Several countries carry out sensitivity analyses on their projections.

Approximated GHG Inventory

The uncertainty ranges estimated in the approximated GHG inventories are derived by comparing the official national data submitted to the UNFCCC in year X with the proxy estimates of the same year. The uncertainty for the approximated emissions at Union level is estimated as the weighted mean of the differences described: weighted again by the relative contribution that each Member State makes to total EU‑15 and EU‑28 emissions. More details about these methodologies are provided in the ‘Approximated GHG inventory report’ of each year.

Data sets uncertainty


The IPCC Good Practice Guidance, which is consistent with the Revised 1996 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, as well as the 2006 IPCC Guidelines provide approaches on how Parties should estimate uncertainties, suggesting different values for the uncertainty of activity data (AD) and emission factors (EF) for most of the emissions source categories. On the basis of this guidance EU Member States and other EEA countries perform their own assessment into uncertainty of reported data and provide in the National Inventory Report an uncertainty analysis to account for the uncertainty per source category, as well as the total uncertainty of their national inventory.

The annual Union GHG inventory report provides a section (1.7) on the uncertainty evaluation, describing the methodology used to estimate it. The results suggest that the level uncertainty in the EU-15 is about 8% for total GHG emissions. 

Total EU-28 and EU-15 GHG emission trends are likely to be more accurate than the individual absolute annual emission estimates, because the annual values are not independent of each other. The IPCC suggests that the uncertainty in total GHG emission trends is ~ 4 to 5%. For the EU, the trend uncertainty estimated is close to 1%. The total GHG emission estimates are quite reliable and the limited number of interpolations used to build the indicator do not introduce much uncertainty at the EU level.

Uncertainties in the projections of GHG emissions can be significant but have not been assessed. 

 

Rationale uncertainty

 The IPCC AR4 (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report 'Climate Change 2007') emphasizes that:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
  • There is high agreement and much evidence that with current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, global GHG emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades.
  • Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.
  • Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change.

Words in bold represent calibrated expressions of uncertainty and confidence. Relevant terms are explained in the Box 'Treatment of uncertainty' in the Introduction of the AR4 Synthesis Report. In particular, a likelihood 'very likely' corresponds to a probability of occurence higher than 90 %. This uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results).

The high confidence in the responsibility of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions for the warming of the climate system reemphasizes the relevance of monitoring and assessing greenhouse gas emission trends in Europe.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Spyridoula Ntemiri

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
CSI 010
CLIM 050
Specification
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Climate change Climate change

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Permalink to latest version
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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in April-June (Q2), October-December (Q4)

Classification

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)

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