Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation » Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation
This report surveys the coal sector fugitive emissions estimation practices of the major coal producing nations of the world. These include: Australia, Canada, China, Columbia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, South Africa and the United States.
There is potential in the future for policy measures calling upon coal companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions, and the importance of national greenhouse gas emissions inventories is also growing. The Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) funded this study to benchmark Australia's emissions inventory practices with those of other nations, as a part of an overall program to improve understanding of the coal industry's emissions and develop viable approaches to report emissions.
The report first surveys and discusses the different potential sources of emissions. As fugitive emissions are reported by all surveyed nations, and as emissions from fuel combustion are generally not reported separately for the coal industry, the report then summarizes the overall fugitive emission inventory practices of each nation, and provides a general comparison between these practices and Australia's national inventory.
In the final chapter, overall findings are made and possible next steps to improve emissions measurement techniques and inventories.
All nations that are signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are required to prepare National Communications that include emissions inventories, based on the standards set by a group of experts comprising the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC developed a set of guidelines for the preparation of national inventories. The guidelines procedure offers three different "tiers" of estimation approaches nations may employ depending on the quality of data available [IPCC (1996) and IPCC (2000)]. This report uses this tiered framework as a basis for comparing the national emissions inventories.
The report found that the quality of emissions estimates varies significantly between countries. Many of the key coal mining countries use only the basic "Tier I" approach to estimate emissions, which means that the probable accuracy of these emissions estimates is low. While the key industrialized nations surveyed do employ more "bottom up" ("Tier II" and "Tier III") approaches which likely result in greater inventory accuracy, CO2 emissions from energy consumption are not aggregated for the coal industry. The IPCC also omits guidance on calculating emissions from abandoned mine workings, but the report discusses a methodology developed to estimate U.S. abandoned mine methane emissions.
While the IPCC guidelines do provide useful approaches for employing existing emissions factor and coal production data to estimate national emissions, they do not provide comprehensive guidance on emissions measurement techniques. In addition, most national inventories do not discuss at length the quality of measurement techniques or data available for deriving the emissions inventories. As such, the survey is only able to provide information on measurement techniques when these are reported by the national inventories or provided by the experts who have prepared the inventories. To the extent that data inputs are inaccurate, this inaccuracy reduces the quality of the national emissions estimate. However, these potential inaccuracies are rarely discussed in national inventories.
A number of corporate level initiatives have been implemented to estimate greenhouse gas emissions. When information on these is available, they are discussed.