Definition: Emission inventories
Inventories of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions provide a common tool through which parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) can estimate the level of their emissions, in respect to individual gases and their sources. All parties to the Kyoto Protocol are obliged to compile an annual inventory of their greenhouse gas emissions and to submit a report on their actions/efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions. These inventories form the basis upon which greenhouse gas emission trends may be monitored from year to year. The inventories are based on a set of standard guidelines to ensure that submissions are consistent and comparable.
Inventories consist of standardised tables (based on a common reporting format) and should be accompanied by a written report documenting the methodologies and data sources that have been used (a national inventory report - NIR). Each developed country that is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol is obliged to submit an inventory by 15 April each year (x), providing estimates of their net greenhouse gas emissions for the period from 1990 onwards (up to reference year of x-2). A complete time-series is provided under each reporting exercise to ensure consistency and to allow for improvements in measurement techniques and calculations to be introduced.
EU Member States, as parties to the Kyoto Protocol, are obliged to submit their individual inventories to the UNFCCC. They also submit their inventories to the EEA (European Environment Agency), as Member States are obliged to provide information under a Monitoring Mechanism Decision (280/2004/EC).
Greenhouse gas inventories are based upon a technology-oriented classification – for example, using categories such as fuel combustion, enteric fermentation or the incineration of waste to categorise emissions.
Eurostat, "Using Official Statistics to Calculate Greenhouse Gas Emissions. A Statistical Guide", Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2010