The IPCC developed its Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories in 1995 to enable all Parties to report national inventories of anthropogenic emissions of all GHGs by sources and removals by sinks under Articles 4.1a and 12.1a of the UNFCCC. The IPCC recognizes that improving the Guidelines is an ongoing process, consistent with Article 7.2 of the UNFCCC.
The IPCC improved the 1995 guidelines and published the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories in 1997; the SBSTA recommended that Parties use these Revised Guidelines.
The process for improving the Guidelines can be initiated by a request from the SBSTA to the IPCC. Currently, there is no mandate for the IPCC to improve the Guidelines or develop guidelines for projects. Any improvement to the IPCC Guidelines, however, may remain under the remit of the IPCC.
The IPCC is now developing good practice guidance (GPG) for managing uncertainty of GHG inventories for many sectors (IPCC, 1999), including LUCF in 2000. The combined use of the Guidelines and the GPG can enhance the accuracy and comparability of national GHG inventories.
Under Article 5.2 of the Kyoto Protocol (see Box 6-1), the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories provide the basis for estimating and reporting of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of GHGs. The reporting requirements of the Protocol are likely to differ from those of the UNFCCC, however. A new development may be the use of national GHG inventories to assess compliance with emission limitation and reduction commitments of Annex I Parties, as described under Article 3.1 of the Protocol.
To meet commitments, Parties may use emissions and removals of GHGs from the sectors listed in Annex A of the Kyoto Protocol. Annex A of the Protocol details all of the sectors from the Guidelines that may be used, with the exception of LUCF. The LUCF sector is excluded from Annex A because Parties have yet to define the accounting rules for this sector. Articles 3.3, 3.4, and 3.7, however, refer to the potential use of agricultural soils and LUCF, as explored elsewhere in this Special Report. There is a further requirement to report changes in carbon stocks in a way that is transparent and verifiable (Articles 3.3 and 3.4).
The inclusion of projects under the Protocol may also introduce new criteria for reporting. The Protocol includes two project-based mechanisms. The first allows for the joint implementation of projects between Annex I Parties (UNFCCC, 1997, Article 6). The second, the CDM, allows for certified emission reduction projects in countries of non-Annex I Parties to assist Annex I Parties in meeting their commitments (UNFCCC, 1997, Article 12). In addition, the CDM will assist non-Annex I Parties in achieving sustainable development and contribute toward the ultimate objective of the FCCC. The Guidelines are intended for reporting of national inventories of emissions and removals of GHGs. The principles of the Guidelines could be applied, however, to estimate changes in carbon stock in projects, although they were not designed to gauge the non-carbon impacts of projects or to address sustainable development.
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