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Emissions monitoring & reporting

As parties to the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, the EU and its member countries are required to report to the UN:

  • annually on their greenhouse emissions ('greenhouse gas inventories').
  • regularly on their climate change policies & measures and progress towards the targets ('biennial reports' and 'national communications').

Annual reporting

All EU countries are required to monitor their emissions under the EU's greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism, which sets the EU's own internal reporting rules on the basis of internationally agreed obligations.

The reporting covers:

  • emissions of 7 greenhouse gases (the greenhouse gas inventory) from all sectors: energy, industrial processes, land use, land use change & forestry (LULUCF), waste, agriculture, etc.
  • projections, policies & measures to cut greenhouse emissions
  • national measures to adapt to climate change.
  • low-carbon strategies
  • financial & technical support for developing countries, and similar commitments under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and 2010 Cancún Agreements
  • national governments' use of revenues (estimated at around €11bn in 2013) from the auctioning of allowances in the EU emissions trading system (they have committed to spend at least half of these revenues on climate measures in the EU and abroad)

Monitoring mechanism legislation

Greenhouse gas inventories

The EU's greenhouse gas inventory is prepared by the European Commission, closely assisted by the European Environment Agency each spring.

The period covered by the inventory starts in the base year (mostly 1990) and runs up until2 years before the current year (i.e. in 2014 the inventories cover emissions up to 2012).

The EU inventory is a compilation of national inventories, based on the emissions reported under the EU greenhouse gas monitoring mechanism.

Early emission estimates

The first glimpse on emissions of the previous year comes from the early estimates of CO2 emissions from energy use, published by Eurostat around April/May. Those estimates cover only one gas and one sector.

To get more complete data, countries also report annually an approximated inventory, containing early estimates of total emissions for the previous year, which is normally published in the autumn.

Progress reports on climate action

Under the monitoring mechanism, the Commission is also required to produce an annual report on progress to Kyoto and EU targets for the EU, covering actual (historic) emissions and projected future emissions for every country. It also includes information on EU policies and measures, climate finance and adaptation.

At the same time – every autumn – the European Environment Agency also publishes a more detailed report on emissions trends and projections.

Regular reporting to the UNFCCC

Under the UNFCCC, developed countries are required to make "national communications" to the UN every 4 years, with data on:

  • emissions & removals
  • policies & measures to reduce emissions
  • provision of financial, technological and capacity building support
  • other activities undertaken to implement the Convention.

From 2014, they are also required to make a report every 2 years ('biennial report'), to enhance reporting on mitigation targets and the provision of support in national communications.

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