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CEC Assesses the Comparability of GHG and Black Carbon Emissions Reporting in North America

10 December 2012: A report by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) finds challenges in using current national and subnational reporting regime data to estimate the potential impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures and coordinate climate change policy in North America.

The CEC Secretariat issued the report titled "Assessment of the Comparability of Greenhouse Gas and Black Carbon Emissions Inventories in North America" as a first step in meeting the CEC Council's stated goal of making carbon emissions data in Canada, Mexico and the US fully comparable by 2015.

The report, which examines current GHG reporting systems generally in the three countries and takes a special look at reporting of black carbon, a short-lived climate forcer, finds multiple systems, at both national and subnational levels, both voluntary and obligatory, that differ in terms of sectoral coverage, complexity and level of detail.

Among other things, the report finds that: Canada and the US have more detailed national GHG reporting than Mexico; the US uses the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 Guidelines, while Canada uses the IPCC 1996 Guidelines; while all three countries are generally consistent in what GHG emissions they have chemicals companies report, they use different methods; source coverage and emissions estimation methods differ among the three countries for agriculture, land-use change and forestry; and emissions for waste incineration are included under the energy sector in the US but under the waste sector in Canada and Mexico. The report also finds five sub-national GHG inventories in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 31 in the US that differ from each other and even from their respective national reporting regimes.

The report's examination of the black carbon inventories finds general consistency between the Canadian and US data, due in large part to the adoption by both of a methodology developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The report notes that Mexico's black carbon inventory is still under development, but is similarly designed.

The CEC was created by Canada, Mexico and the US to implement the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC), the environmental side accord to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). [CEC Press Release] [Publication: Assessment of the Comparability of Greenhouse Gas and Black Carbon Emissions Inventories in North America]