COMMISSION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL COOPERATION
THREE COUNTRIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PROTECT OUR SHARED ENVIRONMENT
Right now, if businesses or environmental officials need to estimate the impact of different greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction measures in one country or region of North America compared to another, they would face multiple GHG reporting regimes with varying levels of detail and complexity.
While emissions data between Canada, Mexico and the US are largely comparable, there are still gaps such as differences in each country’s mandatory reporting requirements, availability of annual data, and the methods used to estimate emissions. These similarities and gaps have been meticulously catalogued in the CEC report, Assessment of the Comparability of Greenhouse Gas and Black Carbon Emissions Inventories in North America, published in summer 2012.
This report provides an holistic overview of GHG and black carbon reporting structures, laying the groundwork for potential future collaboration to improve the comparability of national and regional emissions accounting and the credibility of any cross-border efforts at national or regional levels to reduce carbon emissions that rely upon measurable proof of actual GHG mitigation progress.
Another way to evaluate and eventually manage greenhouse gas emissions is through understanding the natural carbon storage that occurs in grasslands, forests, oceans and soil. Human behavior and natural events can rapidly shift the amount of carbon stored or released by plants and soil and convert large carbon sinks into carbon sources overnight. Understanding how such carbon storage varies across the continent helps develop effective, science-based initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This past year, the CEC began work with the North American Land Cover Monitoring System (NALCMS) and ecosystem carbon experts to integrate land cover and land cover change, such as deforestation and urbanization, into models that demonstrate natural carbon storage. These trinational experts are working together to help Mexico develop a carbon budget model, with an emphasis on improving monitoring, reporting, and verification of natural carbon changes, particularly with regards to forests.
Maps of land cover and land cover change that support this work will be available in autumn 2012 as part of the CEC’s North American Environmental Atlas, an interactive tool to research, analyze and manage environmental information.
For more information on the comparability assessment, visit www.cec.org/ghg.
For more information on the land cover change map, visit www.cec.org/carbon.