Probabilistic approach to address temporal verification of changes in global net carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol

This study proposes an approach which permits assessing net emission changes under the Kyoto Protocol, in particular with respect to atmospheric CO2 and CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning, cement manufacture and gas flaring; whereby emission changes are characterized by uncertainty distributions in terms of verification times (VTs). 

The VT is the time until a net emission signal begins to outstrip its underlying uncertainty. For a number of reasons, namely (i) data availability, (ii) consistency in accounting net carbon fluxes, and (iii) spatio-temporal conditions, which correspond to the current level of sophistication realized in the approach, the VT concept was applied to the global scale. However, the temporal verification conditions of the approach correspond to those on sub-global scales, in accordance with the Protocol.

The two issues examined here are: (1) how to utilize the characterization of changes in global net carbon emissions by uncertainty distributions for the description of VTs on a probabilistic basis; and (2) whether probabilistically and deterministically determined VTs differ.

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Last edited: 09 November 2017


Matthias Jonas

Senior Research Scholar

Advanced Systems Analysis

T +43(0) 2236 807 430


Tatiana Ermolieva

Research Scholar

Ecosystems Services and Management

T +43(0) 2236 807 581


Hudz H (2002). Verification Times Underlying the Kyoto Protocol: Consideration of Risk. IIASA Interim Report. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: IR-02-066

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