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BC emissions inventories

Action 2.4: Improve methodological guidance and external support for black carbon inventories

Within this action focused on methodological guidance and external support for the inventories we have identified two components. Component 2.4a addresses potential improvements in the existing guidance documents under the Air Convention and UNFCCC, relevant for black carbon emission inventories. Component 2.4b highlights the need for external support for national experts in applying these methodologies while compiling the emission inventories.


Area of Action
BC emissions inventories
Improve methodological guidance and external support for black carbon inventories
2.4a Improve and develop methodological guidance for black carbon emissions inventories
2.4b Emissions inventory capacity-building
Type of intervention
Establishment and improvements of monitoring and inventories
Information and guidance
Time perspective
2.4a Medium- to long-term: 2020-2030
2.4b Short-term (ongoing capacity building)
Structural change
Jurisdictional scope
2.4a International
2.4b International, national
Policy forum
2.4a UNECE Air Convention: TFEIP, IPCC: The IPCC's Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, IMO
2.4b UNECE Air Convention, EU, national authorities

Component 2.4a. Methodological guidance for black carbon emissions inventories

The EUA-BCA technical report on emission inventories (EUABCA 2019b) highlighted deficiencies in the 2016 EMEP/EEA (European Environment Agency) Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook and the reporting guidelines - such as lack of higher Tier inventory methodologies and outright lack of Tier 1 emission factors for some source sectors. The lack of a clear working definition for black carbon is also an important issue to resolve.

The EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook is normally updated every 3 years; the last update happened in 2019. Impetus from the EMEP is likely needed to give the Task Force on Emission Inventories and Projections (TFEIP) the mandate and allocate resources for substantial updates and improvements in black carbon inventories. Such action will likely need to be elaborated first in proposals for the Air Convention 2-year work plans. An expert group on black carbon within TFEIP has, however, been set up to review current EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook with respect to BC, and to identify priority areas for improvement.

The establishment of the IPPC expert group on SLCFs and its work on SLCF methodologies (see Action 2.2) is also highly relevant. The synthesis of methods applicable outside of Europe will be essential if reporting black carbon emissions, to begin within the UNFCCC-PA forum. Cross-convention collaboration between TFEIP and the IPCC expert group on SLCFs has already been initiated and can be maintained and enhanced. These groups can work in close collaboration to develop a technical consensus on some priority issues (e.g. working definition of BC), and to agree upon the best approach in terms of emission factors (e.g. whether black carbon coefficients should be expressed as fractions of PM2.5 emissions or as explicit emissions factors in units of black carbon mass per unit activity data). In this regard, it may also be beneficial for this cross-convention cooperation to include a link to the ongoing methodological work under the IMO with respect to the monitoring of black carbon emissions from shipping (see Area of action Shipping).

Component 2.4b. Emissions inventory capacity-building

While improvements in methodological guidance are important, the availability of adequate emission factors per se do not guarantee high rates and good quality of black carbon emission reporting. National circumstances can restrict the establishment, maintenance, and improvement of national inventory systems for BC. Capacity-building focused on development of national black carbon emission inventories is very relevant here. For more details on current and potential capacity building activities concerning emission inventories and the ways they are organised and supported see information on Action 2.1.