Measurement, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions in studied nations is well-established, but estimating the effect of climate policies is more difficult

San Francisco – Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) has completed an analysis of national systems that track emissions and activities to reduce emissions in the U.S., Germany, Italy, and China. The analysis revealed that existing systems allow these nations to determine if they are meeting their emission reduction targets, but do not allow them to identify which of their policies are most effective and efficient.

CPI’s analysis, which examined the transparency, comparability, reliability, usefulness, timeliness, and completeness of each system, also indicated that:

  • China is strengthening its capacity to produce greenhouse gas inventories, and is publishing a comprehensive annual report of mitigation activities. More transparent expert and public review of its data and methods would make its systems more effective.
  • The U.S. has very strong emissions tracking systems, but lacks a systematic process to track the impact of all its climate mitigation policies. This hinders its ability to continuously improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its policies.
  • Germany has sophisticated and effective systems for tracking emissions reductions and many of its energy policies, however, the transparency and consistency of its full suite of mitigation actions could be improved.
  • Italy has strong institutional expertise and systems in tracking emissions. Its systems for tracking mitigation actions are reliable but do not always measure their impact on greenhouse gas emission levels.

“As the adage goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” said Kath Rowley, director of CPI San Francisco. “Strong monitoring, reporting and verification systems of emissions and activities to reduce emissions are crucial for focusing political and financial capital where it will deliver the best results.”

CPI will present its findings at a side event at the UNFCCC conference in Bonn on May 24.

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) is a global policy effectiveness analysis and advisory organization.  Its mission is to assess, diagnose, and support nations’ efforts to achieve low-carbon growth.  An independent, not-for-profit organization with long-term support from George Soros, CPI has its headquarters in San Francisco and regional offices in Berlin, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Venice.


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