Importance of a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for Sustainable Development of the Dominican Republic

GRT Guest Blogger Yomayra J. Martinó Soto, General Coordinator of the Dominican Republic’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, explains how the inventory is helping the country to work beyond compliance with international agreements on climate change, to become an innovative and efficient public management tool that promotes sustainable development.

enriquilloSince September 2014, the Dominican Republic has been working on developing its National Greenhouse Gas Inventory as part of the requirements of the “Third National Communication for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC.” National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventories go beyond  mere compliance with international agreements: they have become public management tools, part of the design and implementation of innovative, efficient and focused public policies seeking to promote sustainable development.

The inventory required by the UNFCCC, relies on the participation of the state, the private sector and academia. Within the Dominican Republic, two partner organizations are responsible for its overall coordination and implementation: the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Council for Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism of the Dominican Republic.

It is hoped that with the launch of the current GHG inventory, the Dominican Republic will identify opportunities for improving its national greenhouse gas reduction strategy as well as strengthening its synergy with the private sector in promoting the production of cleaner, cheaper and more efficient energy, including within the transport sector. The inventory also seeks to sensitize the key stakeholders in industry and agriculture, but also citizens in general, to the fact that they are consumers of goods and services provided to them by the environment.

What is a national GHG inventory?

The use of GHG inventories derives from compliance with Articles 4 and 12 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which signatories in each country are asked to report on the main sources of greenhouse gas and greenhouse gas sinks.

Furthermore, countries are required to incorporate GHG inventories into their “National Communications” (hereafter NC), wherein the state of national greenhouse gas inventories as well as all measures being taken to mitigate and adapt to climate change need to be outlined, along with other information of crucial interest to tracking and monitoring actions that deal with climate change on a global level.

The Dominican Republic has developed two national communications on climate change. At the moment, the UNFCCC is updating a new inventory that will identify emissions arising from the energy sector, solid waste treatment, industrial processes and the so-called AFOLU, which refer to emissions arising from agriculture, forestry and other land uses and changes.

The inventory of the Third Communication is being developed for the first time by a Dominican team, made up of government agencies and private sector organizations that operate within the aforementioned areas. These institutions and their representatives have been provided with the necessary training to undertake the creation of this GHG inventory.

In addition to skills acquired in working groups, the national inventory team has also been reinforced by a project conducted by the German Cooperation Agency, which seeks to improve national capacity in emissions calculations and lays the groundwork for the establishment of a permanent control and quality assurance process.

National GHG inventories as public policy tools for climate change

climate changeThe data generated by the inventory gives policy makers a valuable tool to address the issue of climate change. Viewing the status of GHG emissions by sector will enable governing bodies to take strategic measures to reduce emissions as well as promote adaptation to climate change.

These strategic mitigation and adaptation measures in each key sectors will enable the country to effectively deal with the consequences of changes in the global climate system, such as floods, droughts and temperature variations.

An excellent example of this is the energy sector: identifying the percentage of national inventory emissions that correspond to electricity-generating activity can effectively promote diversification of the energy matrix by promoting a commitment to using renewable energy.

As such, the industrial processes sector, with data obtained from the inventory, can define their plans of action in the short and medium term as well as reduce emissions that correspond to their economic activity, including taking measures such as introducing incentives for emissions reduction, promoting cleaner production and environmental sustainability certifications, among other actions.

In general, an updated Dominican GHG emissions inventory will encourage support for the implementation of the National Development Strategy, which establishes that by 2030, the DR will embrace environmentally sustainable consumption and production and will have adapted to climate change. In this regard, long-term investment plans and sectorial national actions will focus more effectively on helping the Dominican Republic stabilize and/or substantially reduce emissions.

Final Considerations

National greenhouse gas inventories not only indicate the state of affairs by each sector, they also enable countries to establish strategic lines of action to confront the reduction of GHG.

The inventories are also part of the compliance to legal commitments at the international level, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. On a national level, they enable us to meet targets and indicators established by regulatory bodies such as the National Development Strategy.

Inventories also make it easier for countries to proactively implement corrective actions and make them part of their development agenda, while aiming for a low carbon model that helps countries achieve harmonious economic, environmental and social stability with a view to attaining sustainable development.

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