China and US can measure and report their emissions | WWF South Africa

China and US can measure and report their emissions

Posted on 07 June 2010
Gas fields
© Louis Mazzatenta / WWF

Released at international climate negotiations in Bonn which are specifically considering the measuring, reporting and verification of emissions Counting the Gigatonnes: Building Trust in Greenhouse Gas Inventories from the United States and China, outlines the systems already in place in both countries that can ensure accurate and timely data on greenhouse gas emissions.

“The US and China have historically been at loggerheads when it comes to measuring and reporting emissions,” said Keya Chatterjee, Director of WWF’s Climate Program in the US.

“This report finds that there is ample opportunity for both countries to work collaboratively and learn from each other. Working together is essential for reducing tensions and fostering an environment of trust that will be needed for a fair, ambitious and binding international climate treaty.” 

With the US and China accounting for approximately 40 percent of CO2 emissions, cooperation between the two countries, including around the measuring and reporting of emissions, is viewed by WWF as critical to addressing climate change.

At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, disagreements between the US and China on emissions reporting and transparency nearly ground the international talks to a halt. 

The report outlines areas in which the two countries could improve collaboration and learn from each other’s experiences. For example, the report finds that China could learn from the US’s long experience in conducting surveys, more regular reporting, and disclosure of primary data and methodologies; while the US could gain from China’s recent experience in ensuring the validity of self-reporting structures through robust auditing and regular spot-checking.

“Because the US does not yet regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other large emitters, those emissions sources in the US have no reason to lie about their emissions,” said Chatterjee. “Lack of regulation of greenhouse gas emissions may increase the reliability of US data, but it hurts the ability of the US to compete with China in the clean energy economy.

“If the US wants to compete with China in the clean energy economy, it will require increased collaboration with China and it will require the US to implement the comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation currently being debated in the US Senate,” Chatterjee said.  

Gas fields
© Louis Mazzatenta / WWF Enlarge