Preparatory Signal Detection for the EU-25 Member States Under EU Burden Sharing - Advanced Monitoring Including Uncertainty (1990-2003)

Bun A & Jonas M (2006). Preparatory Signal Detection for the EU-25 Member States Under EU Burden Sharing - Advanced Monitoring Including Uncertainty (1990-2003). IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-06-054


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This study follows up IIASA Interim Report IR-04-024 (Jonas et al., 2004a), which addresses the preparatory detection of uncertain greenhouse gas (GHG) emission changes (also termed emission signals) under the Kyoto Protocol. The question probed was how well do we need to know net emissions if we want to detect a specified emission signal after a given time? The authors used the Protocol's Annex I countries as net emitters and referred to all Kyoto GHGs (CO2, CH4, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, and SF6) excluding CO2 emissions/removals due to land-use change and forestry (LUCF). They motivated the application of preparatory signal detection in the context of the Kyoto Protocol as a necessary measure that should have been taken prior to/in negotiating the Protocol. The authors argued that uncertainties are already monitored and are increasingly made available but that monitored emissions and uncertainties are still dealt with in isolation. A connection between emission and (total) uncertainty estimates for the purpose of an advanced country evaluation has not yet been established. The authors developed four preparatory signal detection techniques and applied these to the Annex I countries under the Kyoto Protocol. The frame of reference for preparatory signal detection is that Annex I countries comply with their committed emission targets in 2008-2012. The emissions path between the base year and commitment year/period is generally assumed to be a straight line, and the path of historical emissions is not taken into consideration.

This study applies the strictest of these techniques, the combined undershooting and verification time (Und&VT) concept to advance the monitoring of the GHG emissions reported by the old and new Member States of the European Union (EU). In contrast to the earlier study, the Member States' committed emission targets under the EU burden sharing in compliance with the Kyoto Protocol are taken into account, however, still assuming that only domestic measures will be used (i.e., excluding Kyoto mechanisms). The Und&VT concept is applied in a standard mode, i.e., with reference to the Member States' committed emission targets in 2008-2012, and in a new mode, i.e., with reference to linear path emission targets between base year and commitment year. Here, the intermediate year of reference is 2003.

To advance the reporting of the EU, uncertainty and its consequences are taken into consideration, i.e., (i) the risk that a Member State's true emissions in the commitment year/period are above its true emission limitation or reduction commitment; and (ii) the detectability of its target. Undershooting the committed EU target or EU-compatible, but detectable, target can decrease this risk. The Member States' linear path undershooting targets for the year 2003 are contrasted with their actual emission situation in that year, for which the distance-to-target indicator (DTI) is employed that has been introduced by the European Environment Agency.

In 2003 eleven EU-25 Member States exhibit a negative DTI and thus appear as potential sellers: Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia and the UK. However, expecting that all of the EU Member States will eventually exhibit relative uncertainties in the range of 5-10% and above rather than below excluding LUCF and Kyoto mechanisms, the Member States require considerable undershooting of their EU-compatible, but detectable, targets if one wants to keep the said risk low that the Member States' true emissions in the commitment year/period are above their true EU reference lines. As of 2003, these conditions can only be met by seven new and two old Member States (ranked in terms of credibility): Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and the United Kingdom, while two old Member States, France and Sweden, can only act as potential high-risk sellers. The other EU-25 Member States do not meet their linear path (base year--commitment year) undershooting targets in 2003, or do not have Kyoto targets at all (Cyprus and Malta).

The relative uncertainty, with which countries report their emissions, matters. For instance, with relative uncertainty increasing from 5 to 10%, the linear path 2008/12 emission signal of the old EU-15 as a whole (which has jointly approved, as a Party, an 8% emission reduction under the Kyoto Protocol) switches from detectable to nondetectable, indicating that the negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol were imprudent because they did not take uncertainty and its consequences into account.

It is anticipated that the evaluation of emission signals in terms of risk and detectability will become standard practice and that these two qualifiers will be accounted for in pricing GHG emission permits.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Interim Report)
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:38
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2016 02:16

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