About GHG

What is a National GHG Inventory?

A greenhouse gas inventory is an accounting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted to or removed from the atmosphere.

An inventory will list, by source, the amount of pollutants emitted to the atmosphere during a given time period (annual emission estimates from a base year to the latest year).

Policy makers use inventories to establish a baseline for tracking emission trends, developing mitigation strategies and policies, and assessing progress.

Internationally, the reporting of national inventories is part of the UNFCCC management of GHG emissions. Inventories are used to monitor progress towards reduction targets and to enable countries to access climate finance mechanisms.

About Tanzanian GHGs Inventories


Scope of a National GHG Inventory

GHG Inventories report annual emissions of all anthropogenic GHG emissions.

Sectors: energy, industrial process and product use (IPPU), agriculture land use change and forestry, waste

Gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3

  • Carbon dioxide: mainly from combustion of fuels in different economic sectors, industrial processes, LULUCF sources and sinks
  • Methane: waste, agriculture
  • Nitrous oxide: industrial processes, agriculture
  • F-gases: IPPU


  • Short-cycle biocarbon in the GHGI (e.g. CO2 from plant biomass)
  • International shipping and aviation – reported as “memo items”.

Purpose of National GHG Inventories

  • Show development of GHG emissions at national level over time
  • Allow prioritising of sectors, sources or gases for mitigation action

Global climate change is possibly the greatest environmental challenge facing the world this century. Several governments came together in 1988 and formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This led to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was tabled in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental treaty which aims to stabilise greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The United Republic of Tanzania ratified the UNFCCC in April 1996.

One of the first tasks set by the UNFCCC was for signatory nations to establish national GHG inventories. Article 4, paragraph 1(a) and Article 12, paragraph 1(a), of the convention provide for each Party to prepare and report national GHG emissions and removals to the Conference of the Parties (COP) through National Communications (NCs) and Biennial Update Reports (BURs). Tanzania submitted their second National Communication in November 2015.

The Bali Action Plan, part of the Bali Road Map adopted at the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP)[1] in December 2007 in Bali, introduced the principle of MRV (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) in the context of enhancing action at the international and national level to mitigate climate change. This principle was further elaborated through subsequent COP decisions, resulting in a comprehensive MRV framework under the Convention.

For non-Annex I Parties[2], the existing MRV framework encompasses a number of elements (see Figure 1) including submitting National Communications (NCs) every four years and biennial update reports (BURs) every two years (both of which will include a national GHG inventory), undergoing international consultation and analysis (ICA), setting up domestic MRV of domestically supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and undertaking MRV of REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) activities for the purpose of obtaining and receiving results-based incentives.

In addition, under the provisions of the Paris Agreement, countries will be expected to submit an updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) every five years, which will represent a progression beyond the Country’s then current NDC, to reflect its highest possible ambition.

The MRV system (sometimes referred to as a National System) brings information together into a sustainable and functional system, by identifying institutional arrangements to co-ordinate the participation of stakeholders and giving them defined roles and responsibilities to ensure the smooth flow of information. This allows transparent outputs to be produced for tracking and planning action. A well-functioning system will ensure quality through planning, preparation and management of inventory activities. Figure 2shows the main elements of the GHG inventory cycle, all of which are addressed in an effective MRV system.

Figure 1: Key elements of the MRV framework[3]

Figure 2: The GHG inventory cycle[4]

These international MRV requirements mean that it is critical for Tanzania to put more formalised procedures and guidelines in place to streamline the inventory updating process and improve the quality of the outputs. An important component of this streamlining process is to have a good MRV system including documentation of the data, data sources, methodologies and quality control procedures.

This is a therefore a key period for Tanzania in developing a national MRV system that will provide the foundation for the support and delivery of its national strategies and reporting obligations. As it aspires to become a middle-income country by 2025 through sustainable economic growth, Tanzania will then have a robust and transparent data system that allows them to track and mitigate the likely increases in key GHG activity drivers.

[1] The Conference of the Parties is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC

[2] Under the UNFCCC, the Republic of Tanzania is a non-Annex I Party to the convention

[3] UNFCCC Handbook for MRV for developing country Parties https://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/annex_i_natcom_/application/pdf/non-annex_i_mrv_handbook.pdf

[4]Institutional arrangements template. Developing a national inventory system template workbook. US EPA, December 2011.

The ultimate objective of UNFCCC is to achieve “… stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” A GHG Inventory is an estimation of the greenhouse gas emissions and removals of a country and therefore essential and mandatory element of the UNFCCC reporting.

A GHG inventory comprises of estimating emissions (and removals) from all source categories:

  • Energy,
  • Industrial Processes and Product Use,
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use,
  • Waste,

based on the principles of Transparency, Accuracy, Consistency, Comparability and Completeness (TACCC–principles).

This training aimed to develop capacity in government institutions, industry and the private sector, in the following areas:

  • Develop comprehensive, detailed and accurate national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories using the latest IPCC 2006 Guidelines;
  • Provide training on the IPCC software for estimation of GHGs;
  • Prepare the required information for UNFCCC reports such as NCs and BURs.

All sectors and categories, as defined by the IPCC where covered, with specific focus on the sectors and categories that are particularly relevant for the phase 2 countries.