A Joint FAO-IPCC-IFAD Expert Meeting titled ‘Emerging Activities to Combat Climate Change: Use of FAO Data and IPCC GHG Inventory Guidelines for Agriculture and Land Use' held in Rome, Italy, on 13-14 November 2014, examined recent improvements and gaps in data and methodological guidance for greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories in the agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) sector.
A Joint FAO-IPCC-IFAD Expert Meeting titled ‘Emerging Activities to Combat Climate Change: Use of FAO Data and IPCC GHG Inventory Guidelines for Agriculture and Land Use‘ held in Rome, Italy, on 13-14 November 2014, examined recent improvements and gaps in data and methodological guidance for greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories in the agriculture, forestry, and other land uses (AFOLU) sector.
The meeting brought together 68 participants from 26 countries to discuss the availability of data and methodologies for the post-2020 framework in light of newly emerging data and methodology needs. FAO provides ongoing capacity development support to its member countries for the preparation of GHG Inventories, National Communications (NCs), Biennial Update Reports (BURs), and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), while the IPCC provides methodological guidance for GHG inventory systems.
In a broad international collaboration, FAO launched the FAOSTAT Emissions database in 2012, containing a global set of Tier 1 emission estimates for the agriculture and land use domains, with national and regional coverage from 1961-2012 (Agriculture) and 1990-2012 (Land Use), and projections to 2030 and 2050, based on existing and newly developed activity data for the AFOLU sector. The FAOSTAT Emissions database contributed to the recent IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) with global and regional analysis of AFOLU emissions and mitigation potentials. It was recently enhanced with updated 2012 data, as well as a new suite of analysis tools for quality assurance and verification, comparisons with UNFCCC data, access to geo-referenced data, and the development of indicators.
The AFOLU sector presents a substantial challenge for GHG inventory compilation in developing countries due to the scarcity of reliable data. There are many opportunities for synergies between mitigation, adaptation, and food security goals that are embedded within international climate policy mitigation initiatives, such NAMAs and REDD+. The growing importance of these mitigation actions poses new challenges to the management of sub-national data. During the years to come, developing countries will require more and better data on GHG emissions and their analysis, related capacity development, and improved guidelines.
Furthermore, national statistical processes require better integration within the GHG inventory process. Capacity development that addresses institutional arrangements could streamline national data collection and enable improved cohesion between the ministries and national statistical offices involved in these processes.
Experts highlighted the necessity for the application of IPCC guidelines in the estimation of mitigation achieved by NAMAs, REDD+ activities, and the Life Cycle Assessment of specific products. Discussion revolved around the critical central question of whether the accurate assessment of mitigation in the AFOLU sectors requires new methodological work by the IPCC. Experts also discussed reference level construction for the land-use sector, for which countries are only starting to collect initial experiences. Methodologies are uncertain for reference level construction that will properly quantify deviation from business-as-usual (BAU) levels and emissions trends. Methodologies are also necessary for the stratification of national GHG inventories in order to identify subsets for category boundaries, spatial boundaries and time boundaries.
The Expert meeting served both as an opportunity to build upon lessons learned and to address emerging needs in the area of improved statistics for use in national GHG inventories, mitigation and rural development.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) gathered to assess available data and methodological guidelines for GHG inventories for the post-2020 climate-change regime in agriculture and forestry.
The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Francesco N. Tubiello, Natural Resources Officer and Project Coordinator, FAO, and Heather Jacobs, Climate Change Consultant, FAO.