Accounting for Carbon – National Greenhouse Gas Inventories & International Reporting

A special guest lecture by Dr. Renee Kidson, director of the Australian National Inventory.

Thursday, January 23, 2014
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Luskin School of Public Affairs Room 3343

ABSTRACT:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the leading international treaty for action on climate change. Parties to the Convention, including the US & Australia, must submit annually a national greenhouse gas inventory, which tracks emissions and their various sources over time. The Kyoto Protocol to the Convention also requires parties to commit to binding emission reduction targets: the inventories are central to tracking progress towards these targets. This seminar explains the UN carbon accounting principles and how national greenhouse gas inventories are constructed for reporting under these international instruments.  The Australian Inventory is presented as a focal case study: the data sources and estimation methods are detailed, and trends are discussed across the Energy, Industrial Processes, Agriculture, Waste and Land Sectors. The many parallels with the US Inventory experience are explored, and the UN’s expert peer review process, a critical Quality Assurance measure, is described.

Australia has over 20 years’ experience in publishing national greenhouse gas inventories, and one of the biggest challenges, shared by the US, is the estimation of carbon in the landscape at continental scale. In response to this challenge, Australia has developed sophisticated methods and models using remote sensing and spatial analysis. A key future challenge for international carbon accounting - estimating uncertainties in land use change and forestation – is discussed. Finally, institutional and regulatory policies supporting national inventory data collection are presented, along with Monitoring, Reporting and Verification activities.

BIOGRAPHY:

Dr. Renée Kidson is Director of the Australian National Inventory, and is an Energy Specialist on the UN Roster of Experts. She is also a Fellow at the UCSC Center for Integrated Water Research, where she conducts research as a future water supply strategist. Renée works with major cities that have reached the limit of their natural local water supplies (from rivers and reservoirs) and are exploring alternative sources (such as desalination) to support their city’s future growth given climate change. Dr. Kidson performs scenario modelling under different climate change futures, allowing cities to evaluate their options and make sound investment decisions to secure their future water reliability.