6.1.1. The IPCC Guidelines
The IPCC Guidelines consist of three volumes: the Reference Manual, the Workbook,
and the Reporting Instructions. To analyze their adequacy for reporting under
the Protocol, there is a need to distinguish between them. The desired principles
of these inventory guidelines include completeness, comparability, transparency,
and accuracy (FCCC, 1999). The SBSTA has developed revised UNFCCC reporting
guidelines for national communications for Annex I Parties (FCCC, 1999, 2000)
that include GHG inventories. These UNFCCC guidelines are based on the IPCC
Guidelines but are more detailed.
The Reference Manual provides a comprehensive approach to carbon accounting
(by covering all of the main land-use change and forestry activities) (see Figure
6-1). The Reference Manual mentions all pools and encourages countries to
undertake comprehensive accounting of carbon pools affected by anthropogenic
activities in relation to LUCF. The Guidelines apply the principle of balanced
accounting for all changes in carbon stocks for all reported pools on a land
area affected by a given activity; it quantifies sources and removals of GHGs.
The Guidelines do not differentiate, however, between direct human-induced activities
and indirect human activities (e.g., atmospheric CO2 fertilization or nutrient
Figure 6-1: Structure in the IPCC Guidelines
to account for national changes in carbon pools. The Reference Manual
describes all activities within the outer and inner circles. The Workbook
accounts for all changes in pools due to activities within the inner
circle only. Emissions and removals of greenhouse gases can be reported
within the Reporting Instructions.
Using the Reference Manual, it is feasible to estimate national changes in
aboveground and below-ground biomass, soil, soil surface litter, and harvested
wood products for all forests, shrublands, grasslands, and agricultural lands
(see Figure 6-1). For countries in which the change
in stocks of forest products is significant, the Reference Manual recommends
that the products pool be reported.
To improve accuracy, however, country-specific data and more elaborate methods-such
as those described in the Reference Manual-may be required. The Guidelines encourage
the use of national data, but because the Guidelines were designed for use by
all Parties, a range of default data is provided in the Workbook. Although the
use of a range of default data does not mean that inventories are not comparable
(Ravindranath and Sudha, 1999; Houghton and Ramakrishna, 2000), the Guidelines
state that the use of default data "is unlikely to be considered credible for
any country which has significant emissions or activities in this area" (IPCC,
1997, Vol. 3, p. 5.15). In other words, the use of national data is likely to
increase the accuracy of estimates in GHGs, changes in carbon stocks, and their
associated activities. This increased accuracy could be important for compliance
under the Protocol.
The underlying principles of national accounting for GHG emissions and removals
in the Reference Manual are the same as those applied in the Workbook. The Reference
Manual contributes to comparability and transparency by virtue of a common,
simplified approach. It is also helpful when there are limitations of expertise
Unlike the Reference Manual, however, the Workbook considers changes in only
two carbon pools, such as aboveground biomass and carbon in the top 0.3 m of
the soil (see Figure 6-1). The soil carbon method accounts
for cultivation of soils, land-use change involving soils, and liming of agricultural
soils. The Workbook does not provide explicit methods for other pools, including
below-ground biomass, harvested wood products, and deep soil carbon. The treatment
of wood products in the Workbook differs from that of the Reference Manual.
The Workbook assumes that stocks of forest products are not increasing significantly
in most countries. Hence, carbon accounting for wood products is not required,
although the amount of wood harvested for biofuels is necessary for estimating
non-CO2 gases and reporting these emissions in the energy sector. The Workbook
does not account for the effects of forest fires and other disturbances.
The Reporting Instructions provide a range of definitions for anthropogenic
activities, a glossary of terms, and tables to report anthropogenic emissions
and removals of GHGs. The tables are flexible enough to allow for reporting
of all carbon pools, even if the Guidelines do not provide accounting methods
and default data. This flexibility in reporting contributes to completeness
by facilitating the reporting of all carbon pools, though it does not necessarily
contribute to inventory comparability.