OECD/IEA Climate Change Expert Group Papers

2227-779X (online)
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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected papers on climate change issues that have been prepared for the OECD/IEA Climate Change Expert Group (CCXG). The CCXG (formerly called the Annex I Expert Group) is a group of government delegates from OECD and other industrialised countries. The aim of the group is to promote dialogue and enhance understanding on technical issues in the international climate change negotiations. CCXG papers are developed in consultation with experts from a wide range of developed and developing countries, including those participating in CCXG Global Forums.

The full papers are generally available only in English.

The opinions expressed in these papers are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OECD, the IEA or their member countries, or the endorsement of any approach described therein.


Made to Measure: Options for Emissions Accounting under the UNFCCC You or your institution have access to this content

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Andrew Prag1, Christina Hood2, Pedro Martins Barata3
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

  • 2: International Energy Agency, France

  • 3: Get2C, Portugal

20 Dec 2013
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Mitigation pledges put forward by countries under the UNFCCC process are "made to measure" in that they are tailored to fit each country's individual circumstances. However, the pledges also need to be made to be measured so that we have a full understanding of how the various commitments add up to an aggregate global mitigation effort. The Kyoto Protocol provides the only existing international emissions accounting framework, but it applies only to developed countries with specific commitments. This paper assesses what would be required, in addition to existing reporting requirements, to build a robust emissions accounting framework under the UNFCCC applicable to a broad range of Parties.

The paper first identifies necessary building blocks for an emissions accounting framework and assesses progress made in agreeing international reporting processes. It then looks in detail at the two most challenging areas for emissions accounting. The first area is accounting for flows of tradable units from market-based mechanisms, including international flows between linked domestic trading systems as well as from offset crediting mechanisms. The second area is accounting for emissions and removals from the forestry and land-use sectors, which have characteristics that make emissions accounting challenging: the need to distinguish anthropogenic emissions from natural variations, to deal with long time-frames and to measure sinks as well as sources of emissions. Finally, options are presented for how these issues might be taken forward in the negotiations, and how negotiators can build on recent progress made on reporting formats.

market-based mechanisms, emissions accounting, land-use change, forestry, climate change, UNFCCC
JEL Classification:
  • Q23: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation / Forestry
  • Q54: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Climate ; Natural Disasters and Their Management ; Global Warming
  • Q56: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Environment and Development ; Environment and Trade ; Sustainability ; Environmental Accounts and Accounting ; Environmental Equity ; Population Growth
  • Q58: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics ; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Environmental Economics / Government Policy
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