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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Toolkit for Building National GHG Inventory Systems

Developing a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory is an important first step toward managing emissions. A complete and transparent national GHG inventory is an essential tool for understanding emissions and trends, projecting future emissions and identifying sectors for cost-effective emission reduction opportunities. A national GHG inventory is also a core element of reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The U.S. EPA Toolkit for Building National GHG Inventory Systems (“Toolkit”) is intended to help national inventory compilers build and advance a national GHG inventory system that suits their national context. It includes pre-defined National System Templates. Completed templates (adapted to reflect national context) can be compiled into a single National GHG Inventory System Manual, which provides a comprehensive documentation of each critical component for managing the GHG inventory development process.

The resources in the Toolkit have undergone several revisions since their initial development, including recent updates in 2020, and are consistent with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “good practice,” the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for national GHG inventory development, and the latest UNFCCC transparency requirements.

The Toolkit is composed of instructional templates for creating a national GHG inventory system manual and related supporting templates. This resource explains how a GHG inventory team can use the Toolkit to design, build, and improve a national GHG inventory management system. The templates are to be filled in by the National GHG Inventory Coordinator (NIC) and inventory team members.

1. How to Use the Templates (HUT)

This template provides a brief overview of use of the templates and includes tools to develop a GHG inventory schedule and monitor progress towards completing each template in the Toolkit. This template, and the others in this series, include tables to be completed by recording information about the national GHG inventory system that is being built or improved.

Supporting Template: The National Inventory Inception Memorandum Template assists a GHG inventory team in drafting a National Inventory Inception Memorandum, which specifies a GHG inventory plan and basic procedures for compiling the GHG inventory. This template can be customized and distributed by a country's National Inventory Coordinator to provide guidance to those working on the national GHG inventory.

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2. Institutional Arrangements for National Inventory Systems (IA)

This template assists a GHG inventory team in assessing and documenting the strengths and weaknesses of existing institutional arrangements. This resource also helps plan for future GHG inventory development. Effective institutional arrangements ensure continuity and integrity of the GHG inventory, promote institutionalization of the GHG inventory process, and facilitate prioritization of future improvements.

Supporting Guide: The National GHG Inventory Coordinator: Responsibilities and Qualifications Guide describes the roles and key responsibilities for the National GHG Inventory Coordinator in order to effectively manage and coordinate development of a national GHG inventory.

Supporting Guide: The Sector Lead Roles and Responsibilities Guides describe the likely roles and key responsibilities for each Sector Lead for a national GHG inventory: Energy; Industrial Processes and Product Use (IPPU); Agriculture; Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF); and Waste. The primary role of each Sector Lead is to manage and coordinate development of GHG emission and removal estimates for their respective sector.

Supporting Template: The Memorandum of Cooperation Template is for drafting an agreement between two entities working on a national GHG inventory, such as a ministry developing GHG estimates and a data provider.

Supporting Template: The Scope of Work Template can be used by a lead inventory agency to develop a request for proposal or task order request for services related to compiling a GHG inventory.

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3. Methods and Data Documentation (MDD)

This template assists a GHG inventory team in documenting and reporting the origin of methodologies, activity datasets, and emission factors used to estimate GHG emissions or removals. Future GHG inventory teams can refer to the completed template for each source and sink category to determine what information was collected, how the data were obtained, and what methods were used, as well as to reproduce estimates.

Supporting Template: The Confidentiality Agreement and Amendment Template is for drafting an agreement between a ministry developing GHG estimates and a data provider that is supplying confidential business information (CBI) for the development of GHG estimates.

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4. Quality Assurance and Quality Control Procedures (QA/QC)

This template guides a GHG inventory team through the establishment of a cost-effective quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedure to improve transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness, and confidence in a national GHG inventory. The resource includes supplemental checklists with recommended QA/QC procedures that are specific to Sector Leads, as well as management roles, such as the National Inventory Coordinator and QA/QC Coordinator.

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5. Key Category Analysis (KCA)

This template identifies the sources and sinks that make the greatest contribution to national GHG emissions and removals. With this analysis of key categories, a GHG inventory team can prioritize over time the resources needed to implement the more impactful improvements to a national GHG inventory.

Supporting Tool: The Key Category Analysis Tool enables a GHG inventory team to determine key categories of GHG emissions and removals from GHG inventory estimates.

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6. Archiving System (AS)

This template facilitates the reproduction and update of GHG emission estimates. An inventory archive is a collection of information related to the GHG inventory compilation process, reporting, and institutional arrangements. Having an archive safeguards against data and information loss and facilitates development of subsequent GHG inventories by future inventory staff, consistent with prior inventories. An archive system is a critical step toward a sustainable National Inventory System.

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7. National Inventory Improvement Plan (NIIP)

This template synthesizes findings for potential GHG inventory improvements and describes specific priorities for future capacity-building projects based on the needs identified in the other templates. This template facilitates continual GHG inventory improvements.

Supporting Tool: EPA has prepared an Inventory Progress Indicator Tool (IPI) which enables a GHG inventory team to assess progress in improving a national GHG inventory and to evaluate the effectiveness of inventory improvement activities and inventory development systems, based on inventory quality indicators such as transparency, accuracy, consistency, and completeness. This tool is available upon request via email.

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Additional Resources

For questions or comments regarding the U.S. EPA Toolkit for Building National GHG Inventory Systems, email us.

You can download a zip of all the files pertaining to the U.S. EPA Toolkit for Building National GHG Inventory Systems(4 MB) (ZIP) here.