2The committee examined three categoriesof methods for estimating greenhouse gas emis-sions: national inventories, atmospheric andoceanic measurements and models, and land-usemeasurements and models (Box 1). The rstmethod is used by countries to estimate andreport their emissions to the internationalcommunity under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); thesecond and third are research methods that couldhelp verify self-reported estimates. Thecommittee found that deploying existingmethods and technologies could, within veyears, yield a capability to estimate and verifycarbon dioxide emissions from fossil-use anddeforestation. As these types of emissionscomprise about three-quarters of the greenhouseemissions likely to be covered by a treaty, theseimproved capa bilities could provide usefulsupport to international negotiations.Current methods produce emissions esti-mates with unacceptably high uncertainties; insome cases the uncertainties are larger than theexpected emissions reductions over a treaty’slifetime (Table 1). However, it may not be neces-sary to accurately measure all greenhouse gasesto support treaty monitoring and verication.Approximately 90 percent of global emissionscovered by the UNFCCC are from energy andagriculture, forestry, and other land use, makingthese activities an obvious focus for monitoring.The majority of emissions are in the form of CO
from fossil-fuel use (Figure 1), which can be esti-mated accurately.
Strategic investments focused on the mostimportant sources of greenhouse gases in eachcountry and the highest emitting countries(Figure 2), could yield an improved ability tomonitor and verify an international climate agree-ment within ve years. The required investmentsare in three categories: strengthening nationalgreenhouse gas inventories, improving indepen-dent estimates of fossil-fuel CO
emissions, andimproving independent estimates of uxes fromland use.
Strengthening National Greenhouse Gas Inventories
The UNFCCC framework will likely formthe basis for a future climate agreement becauseit has broad international support and offersestablished mechanisms for preparing nationalinventories of emissions and incorporating newinformation and methods. However, the frame-work also has several shortcomings. For example,developing countries do not measure or reporttheir emissions regularly, even though rapidlyindustrializing countries are among the world’shighest emitters of greenhouse gases. Under theUNFCCC, developed countries produce detailedannual estimates of sources and sinks of sixgreenhouse gases using complex methods andcountry-specic data on emissions generatingactivities, and the resulting national inventoriesare subject to international review of methods anddata sources. If applied, these rigorous methodsallow countries to estimate CO
Current Methods for Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions
UNFCCC national inventories
Countries calculate emissions by multiplying levelsof greenhouse gas-emitting activities—such asenergy production and use; industrial processes and product use; agriculture, forestry, and other land use;and waste—by the corresponding rate of emission per unit of activity.
Atmospheric and oceanic measurements (tracer-transport inversion)
Emissions of total human-made and natural sourcesand sinks of greenhouse gases are estimated usingatmospheric and oceanic measurements of greenhouse gases and models of air and water ow.
Land-use measurements and models
Satellite information on land-surface characteristicsand change is converted into CO
Oemissions estimates using biogeochemical modelsconstrained by measurements of greenhouse gasexchange between the land and the atmosphere.