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Friday, 6th November 2015

Towards a European Operational Observing System to Monitor Fossil CO2 Emissions

Source: Copernicus (EU)

From Executive Summary:

Current efforts to limit and reduce fossil CO2 emissions1, whether they are voluntary or part of international agreements, use self-reported data to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to define baselines and assess the effectiveness of climate and energy policies over time. Self-reported inventories of CO2 emissions are primarily based on energy-use statistics collected for different sectors. They offer limited transparency and their accuracy and completeness cannot be assessed independently.

In order to monitor the effectiveness of any future climate agreement, self-reported emissions data will need to be independently assessed for their accuracy and reliability. The UNFCCC principle is of “common but differentiated responsibilities” for defining emissions reductions in different countries. In 2015, all countries will report their national emission pledges as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which are expected to become the basis of a future international agreement on climate change...

In this context, it is critical that emissions baselines and future reduction efforts can be compared among nations on the basis of transparent, consistent, verifiable and up-to-date information. In the past two decades, evidence of sustained climate change and its negative impacts on human welfare has fostered a consensus among nations to act collectively to reduce emissions in the future. During the same period, fossil CO2 emissions have continued to increase, and in 2014, they were 55% above the levels of 1990.

The recent increase in emissions since the late 1990s has occurred mainly in developing nations, which contributed 60% of the global emissions in 2013, as compared to 32% in 1990, the baseline year of the Kyoto Protocol. Because emission inventories in developing nations are less accurate than they are in developed countries, the uncertainty associated with fossil CO2 emissions and their trends has increased up to the point where it could undermine the credibility and the stability of future climate agreements....

This study concludes that it is relevant and timely to develop an operational capacity-driven system to observe and to monitor fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Such a capacity should be developed within the Copernicus programme and be set-up in three successive phases.

+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 1.9 MB)



Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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