December 3, 2007

Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide reach near-record high levels in 2005: UNFCCC report

Greenhouse gases emitted by 40 of the world's industrialized countries rose to a near-record high in 2005, continuing the upward trend of the previous year, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The overall increase in emissions between 2004 and 2005 is attributed to continued economic growth in highly industrialized countries, together with revived growth in former East block nations. In terms of industry sectors, transport-related emissions showed the highest rate of growth.

Thirty-eight of the 41 Parties included in Annex I to the Convention (Annex I Parties) submitted their national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories in 2007, in accordance with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines on annual inventories; 36 of these nations provided a national inventory report. The reporting procedure also requires submission of data from the base year up to two years before the year of submission. For the 2007 submission, this would include data from 1990 up to 2005. This year (2007) marks the first time all reporting Parties used the common reporting format (CRF) software for the submission of their inventories, as well as the first year for which all reporting Parties submitted data for the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.

The UNFCCC secretariat reports that total GHG emissions from all Annex I countries, excluding emissions/removals from LULUCF decreased by 2.8% between 1990 and 2005, from 18,709 to 18,181 teragrams (Tg) CO2 equivalent (CO2e). An even greater decrease, of 4.6%, was reported for GHG emissions including LULUCF, declining from 17,551 to 16,739 Tg CO2e. Since 2000, GHG emissions from Annex I Parties have increased by 2.6% (excluding LULUCF) and by 1.4% (including LULUCF).

Listings of GHG emissions by country show that Canada's emissions (excluding emissions/removals from LULUCF) increased by 25% between 1990 and 2005, from 596 Tg to 747 Tg CO2e, a figure almost unchanged from that of 2004. Emissions including LULUCF rose by 54% between 1990 and 2005, from 473 Tg to nearly 730 Tg CO2e, although there was a decline from the 2004 level of 828 Tg CO2e.

For both 1990 and 2005, CO2 made up the highest proportion of total GHG emissions (80.4% in 1990 and 83.2% in 2005) and increased by 0.6% during this period, while methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions decreased by 18.5 and 20.8%, respectively. Emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6 taken together increased by 19.4%.

For all Annex I Parties taken together, emissions from all sectors decreased between 1990 and 2005, except energy, whose GHG emissions increased by 0.5%. Decreases in emissions from the industrial processes, agriculture and waste sectors were 12.8, 20.7 and 8.5%, respectively. Net GHG removals by LULUCF increased by 24.6%.

The inventory report may be viewed on the UNFCCC Web site,

December 3 marks the beginning of 11 days of discussions at this year's UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The purpose of this event is to launch negotiations on a new international climate change agreement, with delegates expected to agree on key areas a future agreement should address, such as mitigation (including avoided deforestation), adaptation, technology and financing. It is hoped that negotiations for the post-Kyoto agreement will be completed in 2009.

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