The world's nations are moving toward agreements that will bind us together in an effort to limit future greenhouse gas emissions. With such agreements will come the need for all nations to make accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and to monitor changes over time. In this context, the present book focuses on the greenhouse gases that result from human activities, have long lifetimes in the atmosphere and thus will change global climate for decades to millennia or more, and are currently included in international agreements. The book devotes considerably more space to CO2 than to the other gases because CO2 is the largest single contributor to global climate change and is thus the focus of many mitigation efforts. Only data in the public domain were considered because public access and transparency are necessary to build trust in a climate treaty. The book concludes that each country could estimate fossil-fuel CO2 emissions accurately enough to support monitoring of a climate treaty. However, current methods are not sufficiently accurate to check these self-reported estimates against independent data or to estimate other greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic investments would, within 5 years, improve reporting of emissions by countries and yield a useful capability for independent verification of greenhouse gas emissions reported by countries.
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