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Greenhouse gas inventories are a type of emission inventory that are developed for a variety of reasons. Scientists use inventories of natural and anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions as tools when developing atmospheric models. Policy makers use inventories to develop strategies and policies for emissions reductions and to track the progress of those policies. And, regulatory agencies and corporations rely on inventories to establish compliance records with allowable emission rates. Businesses, the public, and other interest groups use inventories to better understand the sources and trends in emissions.

Unlike some other air emission inventories, greenhouse gas inventories include not only emissions from source categories, but also removals by sinks. These removals are typically referred to as carbon sequestration.

Greenhouse gas inventories, typically use Global warming potential (GWP) values to combine emissions of various greenhouse gases into a single weighted value of emissions.

Some of the key examples of greenhouse gas inventories include:

• All Annex I countries are required to report annual emissions and sinks of greenhouse gases under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

• National governments that are Parties to the UNFCCC and/or the Kyoto Protocol are required to submit annual inventories of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from sources and removals from sinks.

• The Kyoto Protocol includes additional requirements for national inventory systems, inventory reporting, and annual inventory review for determining compliance with Articles 5 and 8 of the Protocol.

• Project developers under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol prepare inventories as part of their project baselines.

• Corporation and other entities can prepare greenhouse gas inventories to track progress towards meeting an emission reduction goal.

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