ES.1 Background information on greenhouse gas inventories and climate change
The European Union (EU), as a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), reports annually on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories for the year t-2 and within the area covered by its Member States (i.e. domestic
emissions taking place within its territory).
The present inventory also constitutes the EU-15 submission under the Kyoto Protocol and covers information and data from Member States available until 26 March 2010. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the EU-15 took on a common commitment to reduce
emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012 compared to emissions in the 'base year' (1). EU-27 does not have a common target under the Kyoto Protocol in the same way as EU-15.
The legal basis for the compilation of the EU inventory is Council Decision No. 280/2004/EC concerning a mechanism for monitoring Community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol (2). The purpose of this decision is:
- to monitor all anthropogenic GHG emissions covered by the Kyoto Protocol in the Member States;
- to evaluate progress towards meeting GHG reduction commitments under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol;
- to implement UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol obligations relating to national programmes, greenhouse gas inventories, national systems and registries of the EU and its Member States, and the relevant procedures under the Kyoto Protocol;
- to ensure the timeliness, completeness, accuracy, consistency, comparability and transparency of reporting by the EU and its Member States to the UNFCCC secretariat.
The EU GHG inventory comprises the direct sum of the national inventories compiled by the EU Member States making up the EU-15 and the EU‑27. Energy data from Eurostat are used for the reference approach for CO2 emissions from fossil fuels developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main institutions involved in the compilation of the EU GHG inventory are the Member States, the European Commission Directorate-General Climate Action (DG CLIMA), the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC), Eurostat, and the Joint Research Centre (JRC).
The process of compiling the EU GHG inventory is as follows. Member States submit their annual GHG inventories by 15 January each year to the European Commission, DG CLIMA, with a copy to the EEA. The EEA and its ETC/ACC, Eurostat and JRC then perform initial checks on the submitted data. The draft EU GHG inventory and inventory report are circulated to Member States for review and comments by 28 February. Member States check their national data and the information presented in the EU GHG inventory report, send updates if necessary and review the EU inventory report itself by 15 March. The EEA prepares the final EU GHG inventory and inventory report through its ETC/ACC by 15 April for submission by the European Commission to the UNFCCC Secretariat; a resubmission is prepared by 27 May, if needed.
On 23 January 2008 the European Commission adopted the 'Climate Action and Renewable Energy' package. The proposal was part of draft legislation implementing the 'Integrated Energy and Climate Change' package of 10 January 2007, which was endorsed by the European Council in March 2007. In December 2008 the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement on the package. It was adopted by the Council on 6 April 2009. The package underlines the objective of limiting the rise in global average temperature to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre‑industrial levels. To achieve this goal the EU committed to a unilateral emission reduction target of 20% (3) by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, and agreed to a reduction of 30% provided that other major emitters agree to take on their fair share of a global reduction effort.