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IPCC Releases Update to Its 2006 Guidelines for National GHG Inventories

The 49th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-49) has released an update to its methodology that governments use to estimate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals. The Panel adopted the Overview Chapter of the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories, and accepted the underlying report.

The 2019 Refinement, which is one of the products of the IPCC’s sixth assessment cycle, does not revise or replace the 2006 Guidelines, but rather updates, supplements and/or elaborates the Guidelines where gaps or out-of-date science have been identified. The Refinement should be used in conjunction with the Guidelines.

The Refinement includes volumes on: general guidance and reporting; energy; industrial processes and product use; agriculture, forestry and other land uses; and waste.

Governments and authors discussed the report and the Overview Chapter throughout the week, concluding a few hours past the time the meeting was scheduled to finish. A small number of delegates registered their objection to what they considered “inconsistent treatment” in the text of fugitive emissions from oil and gas exploration on the one hand and coal exploration on the other. Following lengthy discussions regarding how to reflect the lack of consensus in the decision text on the 2019 Refinement, the Panel agreed to refer to Principle 10(b), which sets out the procedure when there are differing views and consensus cannot be reached, and to include the text of the Principle in a footnote.

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