02 September 2013

IIASA updates comprehensive energy and emission database

IIASA’s newly updated Energy and Carbon Emissions Inventory Database (ECDB) brings a comprehensive view of the world’s carbon emissions and energy use.

power plant emissions © G. K. | Dreamstime.com

power plant emissions © G. K. | Dreamstime.com

The ECDB is a comprehensive database on energy use, carbon emissions, and energy and carbon intensities both globally and by country for the 27 largest carbon-emitting nations. It combines data from a variety of sources and makes them directly comparable, while also quantifying the many uncertainties in the data.

“Existing inventories on emissions and energy use are gathered by different organizations, for different purposes, and with different reporting methods.” says IIASA’s Transitions to New Technologies Program Leader Arnulf Grübler. “Our database makes it possible to compare these different estimates.”

The 2013 update was performed by Mathis Rogner based on the original ECDB developed by Jordan Macknick. ECDB has been updated with the latest information available. Egypt is now also separately reported in the database, bringing the total number of countries to 27, which together account for roughly 80% of global carbon emissions. The update also added country-by-country data on emissions coming from land use change, an important contributor to climate change. The updated database also provides more options for users for defining GDP, as well as detailed information about uncertainties in the inventory data.

Uncertainties in data on emissions are vital for scientific work such as the research that feeds into the IPCC reports, says Grübler, but they also have important implications for policy. For example, he points out, the difference between the highest and lowest emission estimate for just one country, Canada, is worth 1 billion dollars based on the EU carbon price. “There are huge economic stakes to this information,” says Grübler.

The ECDB is freely available online. For more information see the ECDB Web page.

Harmonized industrial CO2 emissions (fossil fuel use, gas flaring, and manufacture of cement) in Gigatons CO2 as reported by six different inventories/data sources and harmonized in ECDB for a common accounting and reporting standard. Note that despite harmonization, significant inventory uncertainties persist. The difference between the highest and lowest harmonized global CO2 emissions reported for 2008 equals 3.7 billion tons CO2, an uncertainty which is larger than the combined industrial CO2 emissions of six major developing countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Soutth Africa.

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Last edited: 07 November 2013


Arnulf Grubler

Emeritus Research Scholar Sustainable Service Systems Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

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