News 17 May 2019

New guidelines for the evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its 195 parties approved revised methodological guidelines for the evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions and removals in the plenary session of the IPCC Panel on 12 May 2019 in Kyoto, Japan. The new guidelines supplement the currently used guidelines, for example, in terms of default values and emission factors. 

Examples of completely new sections are guidelines for the evaluation of emissions from reservoirs and certain industrial processes, such as hydrogen production and processing of rare earth elements. In addition, the guidelines were supplemented, for example, with new remote sensing methods for biomass and guidance on the use of satellite measurements in verifying estimates of emissions and removals. "As emission estimation methods have been approved especially for reservoirs, the IPCC methodological guidelines now cover all known main emission sources and sinks," says Senior Adviser Riitta Pipatti from Statistics Finland.

The parties to the Paris Agreement can in future assess emissions and removal with the now approved guidelines that are based on the latest scientific data. The use of the guidelines in evaluating emissions is voluntary until their use is confirmed by the Conference of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

In Finland, a group of researchers and experts from various research institutes and agencies participated in the preparation of the guidelines and in providing national feedback. The work was coordinated by Statistics Finland, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, and the IPCC working group appointed by the Ministry of the Environment.  

Guidelines for evaluating black carbon emissions are being prepared

It was also agreed in the plenary session of the IPCC Panel that the IPCC will start work to draw up guidelines for evaluating the emissions of black carbon and other short-lived climate forcers (SLCF). The work will start with expert meetings next year.

“The decision is welcome, as common guidelines will result in all countries having equal opportunities to evaluate, for example, their black carbon emissions. It is, however, important to do this in cooperation with existing regional systems,” Senior Specialist Kaarle Kupiainen at the Ministry of the Environment points out.

IPCC is currently preparing special reports concerning land use as well as oceans and glaciers that will be completed this year.  The working group contributions for the sixth assessment report (AR6) will be completed in 2021 and the synthesis report in 2022.

The task of IPCC working under the UN is to gather and analyse scientifically produced data on climate change for national and international decision-making. 

Further information:
Riitta Pipatti, tel. +358 29 551 3543, and Sini Niinistö, tel. +358 29 551 2954, Statistics Finland, email:
Kaarle Kupiainen, tel. +358 295 250 232, and Paula Perälä, tel. +358 295 250 224, the Ministry of the Environment
Elias Hurmekoski, tel. +358 29 516 2092, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
IPCC post (13 May 2019)