Energy and Carbon Emissions Inventories Database

A database of the major global inventories of energy use and carbon emissions



The Energy and Carbon Emissions Inventory Database (ECDB) is a program and associated data base designed to display the energy use, carbon emissions, and resulting energy and carbon intensities of the world and of the top 27 carbon-emitting nations (representing approximately 80% of global emissions).

Energy data have traditionally been reported by organizations in different units, using different energy equivalences for hydroelectric and nuclear power, and including different sources of energy (e.g. from municipal and industrial wastes). Similarly, accounting methods also differ for international inventories of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These important inventory uncertainties often go unnoticed and can reduce the accuracy of scientific research based on them and could make policies less effective. The ECDB allows for the direct comparison of original reported energy and carbon emissions of the major international inventories and also allows harmonized comparisons across inventories in terms of categories covered as well as statistical accounting convention adopted.


  • The ECDB clarifies the differences and helps to reconcile discrepancies among major international energy and carbon emissions inventories.

  • The ECDB was compiled by IIASA and now covers the period of 1971 to 2012. It is available online for download for free.

  • The data base, its underlying sources and the implications for energy and carbon inventory uncertainty are documented in two publications (Macknick, 2009 and Macknick, 2011)

  • The ECDB was updated in 2013 using the same methodology and major energy and carbon emission inventory sources as reported in the peer-reviewed Macknick (2011) publication

About the ECDB

Set out in simple Excel spreadsheet form, the ECDB consolidates energy and carbon emission inventories and allows users to view all reporting inventories side-by-side. Users can thus compare original data and also harmonize different inventories using consistent accounting frameworks.

Energy statistical data from the four international energy statistics available are integrated into ECDB, including: the International Energy Agency (IEA), the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), and BP plc. The previous inventory also included energy statistics from the United Nations, however these are not included in this fast-track ECDB update.

ECDB integrates five carbon dioxide emission inventory datasets: IEA’s Sectoral and Reference Approaches, the EIA, the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), and the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR).

How the ECDB works

The ECDB has three main functions.

  1. It converts all reported energy and carbon dioxide emission quantities into consistent units, allowing for the direct comparison of original inventory data. Users can select their desired units for reporting.  
  2. It allows consistent accounting conventions to be applied across all inventory data (that use different ones in their original values). For energy data, primary energy equivalences for hydroelectric, nuclear, and renewable sources, and in-/exclusion of traditional (non-commercial) biomass, and modern renewable energy forms can be harmonized across inventories. For CO2 emission reports, inventories can be harmonized to include comparable sources of emissions: fossil fuel use, natural gas flaring, cement manufacture, traditional biomass burning, combustion of municipal wastes, and lastly also emission from various types of land-use changes.   
  3. ECDB also displays both energy and carbon intensities for the various combinations of energy and carbon emission accounting frameworks chosen (original, or various user-specified harmonization criteria).


The Energy and Carbon Database is the first publically available tool that documents the uncertainties in energy and carbon emission statistics and inventories and allows to users to reconcile at least partly different inventory data. It was developed for the purposes of model calibration and for an assessment of potential impacts of uncertain emission inventory data on carbon markets. The ECDB was created and developed by Jordan Macknick in 2009 and covered the period 1970 to 2007.  An update including data up to the years 2011/2012 was completed in 2013 by Mathis Rogner at IIASA.

What’s New?

The ECDB was updated in 2013.  In addition to updating numbers with the latest available data from the reporting institutions, the following changes were made:

  • Egypt was added, bringing the total number of individual countries highlighted to 27, representing roughly 80% of global emissions.
  • EDGAR emissions due to land-use and land-use change that were previously reported only at the global level are now included on a country-by-country basis as well.
  • Users now have the option when calculating energy intensity to select GDP either based on market exchange rates or purchasing power parities.

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Last edited: 12 March 2014


Arnulf Grubler

Acting Program Director

Transitions To New Technologies

T +43(0) 2236 807 470


Jordan Macknick

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313