Dealing with uncertainty in greenhouse gas inventories in an emissions constrained world

Jonas M, Krey V, Wagner F, Marland G, & Nahorski Z (2010). Dealing with uncertainty in greenhouse gas inventories in an emissions constrained world. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Uncertainty in Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

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Abstract

The urgent task under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is to agree on a climate treaty that comes into force in 2012, the year in which commitments under the Kyoto Protocol will cease. Leaders of the world's major industrialized countries have formally agreed in the wake of the 2009 UN climate change conference in Copenhagen that the average global temperature should not increase by more than 2 degrees C from its pre-industrial level. Compliance with this temperature target can be expressed equivalently in terms of limiting cumulative GHG emissions, for example, up to 2050, while considering the risk of exceeding this target. The emission reductions required are substantial: 50-80% below the 1990 level at the global scale, with even greater reductions for industrialized countries.

Although the issue of translating an approved global emissions constraint to the sub-global level and allocating global emission shares to countries is still unsettled, a crucial question arising and still to be answered is: how should we deal with the uncertainty associated with the accounting of emissions for compliance purposes (i.e., with the uncertainty in GHG inventories)? The accounting of emissions, when bottom-up estimates are compared with top-down constraints derived from scenarios, could still force us to accept additional uncertainties due to still existing accounting gaps. In addition, minimizing the risk of exceeding an agreed global average temperature target may demand considerable undershooting of the most uncertain emissions estimates to ensure that the global total of emissions does not exceed the agreed target.

In our study we make use of a per-capita and GDP related metric to translate a global emissions constraint for 2000-2050 - i.e., a constraint that complies with an agreed global average temperature target and a variable risk of exceeding it - to the country level. The purpose of this exercise is to put uncertainties that are associated with accounting emissions for compliance purposes into a wider quantitative context.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Greenhouse gas emissions; Emission constraints; Contraction & convergence; Emission equity; Uncertainty in emission estimates; Sustainable land use
Research Programs: Atmospheric Pollution (APD)
Forestry (FOR)
Bibliographic Reference: In:; Proceedings of the 3rd International Workshop on Uncertainty in Greenhouse Gas Inventories; 22-24 Septemeber 2010, Lviv, Ukraine pp.119-128 (September 2010)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:44
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2016 12:32
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9422

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