Carbon emissions are more than countries are reporting - study

(Reuters, 27 Apr 2021) Independent models show emissions are about 5.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year higher than countries are reporting, partly due to overestimates of carbon-absorbing forest land.

Scientists said on Monday they have detected a large gap, equal to about what the United States emits annually, between the amount of climate-warming emissions that countries report and the amount that independent models say reaches the atmosphere.

The gap of about 5.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year arises not because any country is doing anything wrong.

Rather, it is due to differences between scientific methods used in national inventories that countries report under the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change and methods used by international models.

"If models and countries speak a different language, assessing country climate progress will be more difficult," said Giacomo Grassi, an author of a study on the gap and a scientific officer at the Joint Research Center of the European Commission. "To address the problem, we need to find a way to compare these estimates."

The emissions gap, explained in the study published on Monday in the monthly journal Nature Climate Change, could mean some countries will have to adjust their emissions reductions. For instance, the country models done by the United States and other nations show more carbon-absorbing managed forest land than the independent models indicate.

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Reuters, 27 Apr 2021: Carbon emissions are more than countries are reporting - study