Experts Develop Framework to Improve Accuracy of GHG Emissions Info

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Climate change is one of the threats facing the world today. We see and read in the news reports that extreme weather events have increased in frequency and intensity across the globe, leaving a trail of loss and destruction.

However, scientific research has also documented that events like extreme rainfall, droughts, and forest fires have become more frequent and severe due to human-caused warming.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released a consensus study report, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision-making, A Framework Going Forward (2022).

As the report’s name suggests, the document develops a framework for evaluating anthropogenic GHG emissions information to support decision-making.

The National Academies, the other name of the NASEM, selected ten experts in climate processes, human-related emissions, and resulting emissions inventories to be members of the Committee responsible for writing this report.

Given the timely need for an enhanced understanding of human-related emissions, the focus here is on anthropogenic emissions. The study examines existing and emerging approaches to developing and evaluating global anthropogenic GHG emissions inventories. The developed framework to evaluate emissions information also includes guidance for policymakers about their use in decision-making.

The report notes that since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, more than 136 countries, accounting for about 80% of total global GHG emissions, have committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. In addition, many cities, regional governments, and industries have also made pledges to reduce emissions. Providing decision-makers with useful, accurate, and trusted GHG emissions information is crucial to this effort.

Three converging trends motivated this report:

  1. Rapidly increasing demand from a range of users for trusted information about GHG emissions across multiple sectors and geographic scales;
  2. Development of many new approaches for quantifying GHG emissions that aim to address this increasing demand; and,
  3. A growing and rapidly evolving institutional landscape, including public, private, and academic entities seeking to provide better GHG emissions information.

These converging trends motivated a need for basic criteria or principles that users and decision-makers could use when evaluating different types of GHG emissions information.

The framework identifies six criteria or pillars that can be used to evaluate and improve GHG emissions information: useability and timeliness, information transparency, evaluation and validation, completeness, inclusivity, and communication. The report recommends creating a coordinated repository or clearinghouse to operationalise the six pillars, for example, by providing timely, transparent, traceable information; standardised data formats; and governance mechanisms that are coordinated, trusted, and inclusive of the global community.

On 1 May 2023, the National Academies report committee members held a virtual meeting disseminating recommendations from the recent report. In addition, they facilitated a discussion regarding the GHG emissions information needs of cities and local decision-makers, how they should evaluate GHG emissions information, and how they are quantified.

You can read the whole report by clicking the link provided in the “Source” section below.

Click to explore an interactive overview of the report.


Citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Greenhouse Gas
Emissions Information for Decision Making: A Framework Going Forward.
Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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