Greenhouse gas accounting for national climate change targets: A comparative study

Countries report in different ways against different climate change targets, making both cross-country and within-country comparisons difficult. This report describes the key differences between greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting frameworks underlying international and domestic national climate change targets and reporting. The analysis uses examples from Ireland, France, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Norway, New Zealand and Mexico.

The report clarifies how countries with national climate change targets account for progress towards these targets, relative to their internationally reported GHG inventories.

The analysis show that there is substantial convergence on the use of comparable accounting methods, driven by UNFCCC reporting. It appears that the same underlying GHG data is typically adapted for accounting against different targets. UNFCCC accounting (plus, for most developed countries, KP accounting) provides the core comprehensive dataset, from which elements can be removed or recalculated as required. The fact that UNFCCC accounting is highly standardised for developed countries ensures a high degree of consistency, whereas more variation is to be expected from developing countries.

The research has been based on a desk review of relevant documentation from each country, carried out in November 2017.

Further research in spring 2018 compares greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for leading climate change jurisdictions.