Nations that are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change periodically submit inventories estimating their greenhouse gas emissions. The Convention Secretariat runs a review process to evaluate inventories from 41 "Annex I" nations, which are mostly economically developed nations. The 153 "non-Annex I" nations are generally less economically developed and have less stringent inventory reporting guidelines. The Department of State (State) represents the United States in international climate change negotiations. GAO was asked to report on (1) what is known about the comparability and quality of inventories and barriers, if any, to improvement; (2) what is known about the strengths and limits of the inventory review process; and (3) views of experts on implications for current and future international agreements to reduce emissions. GAO analyzed inventory reviews and inventories from the seven highest-emitting Annex I nations and seven of the highest emitting non-Annex I nations. GAO also selected and interviewed experts.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of State||1. Recognizing the importance of high quality and comparable data on emissions from Annex I and non-Annex I Parties to the Convention in developing and monitoring international climate change agreements, the Secretary of State should continue to work with other Parties to the Convention in international negotiations to encourage non-Annex I Parties, especially high-emitting nations, to enhance their inventories, including by reporting in a more timely, comprehensive, and comparable manner, and possibly establishing a process for reviewing their inventories.|
|Department of State||2. To provide greater assurance that the review process has an adequate supply of reviewers and provides consistent reviews, the Secretary of State, as the U.S. representative to the Framework Convention, should work with other Parties to the Convention to explore strengthening the quality assurance framework for the inventory review process. A stronger framework could include, for example, having an independent reviewer periodically assess the consistency of inventory reviews and whether the Secretariat has sufficient resources and inventory reviewers to maintain its ability to perform high quality inventory reviews.|