Inventories in Iceland

17 December 2017

Aether has now been supporting the Environment Agency of Iceland (Umhverfisstofnun) for two years in the compilation of their national greenhouse gas (GHG) and air pollutant inventories. Aether’s first visit to Reykjavik was back in September of 2015, when the aim was to help the new Icelandic inventory team (at the time) understand and improve upon the existing compilation methods. Staff turnover can be a severe problem for national inventory teams, highlighting the need for transparent working, for example documenting data sources and assumptions so that new sector experts can easily pick up the work.

Iceland had developed a fairly complete and robust inventory; however, it is not always easy for new staff to understand the workings of the person who came before them. As such, Aether began working with the team in Iceland to improve compilation spreadsheets, and to apply consistent QA/QC and documentation methods. The task was made a little tricky by Aether’s lack of Icelandic language skills, but our hosts were more than helpful in providing the required translation, including an agriculture-specific list of animal types into English, which saved a lot of googling and the development of a slightly odd-looking search history.

Fast forward two years and a lot of progress has been made. Numerous QA/QC checks have been added to Iceland’s system, allowing them to check for errors and complete useful summary analysis. The agriculture and waste sectors of the inventory have been reworked and even though there have been more staff changes in Iceland, the team has generated a strong understanding of the inventory system, its sectors, methodologies and required outputs.

This year, Iceland were selected for an in-country UNFCCC review of their GHG inventory – consisting of a fairly scary week where experts from around the world come to your country to look in detail at your calculations and methods, and to make recommendations for improvements. As part of their visit in August of this year, Richard and Rosie helped the team prepare for the review and discuss likely next steps in working together and continuing to improve Iceland’s inventory and its reporting in the coming years. Iceland, as with many other Parties, is currently in an important phase where it will be developing policies and measures and projections for both GHG and air quality pollutants for reporting in 2019. It will be essential for Iceland to continue its strong work in the development of underlying emissions datasets, to enable the quantification of emissions to future years. This will provide policy makers with the information they need to determine what policies are required, and likely to be most beneficial as Iceland attempts to meet its GHG and air pollutant reduction targets going forward.

During their visit, Richard and Rosie also spent a few days exploring. After four days of beautiful sunshine, stunning waterfalls and volcanic landscapes we arrived in Reykjavik to do some work!



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“It has been a pleasure to work with Chris Dore and Richard Claxton from Aether: they did their job in a very professional and timely manner. The workshop was organized and carried out in a cooperative spirit; the information provided to the workshop participants was complete and clear.”

Alina Novikova, UN/ECE Secretariat

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Luanne Stevens, Gondwana

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Annette Rattigan-Leo, Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer

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Jennifer Anderson, Sustainable Scotland Network

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Umweltbundesamt: Environment Agency Austria

“I must congratulate each of you for your professional and tireless efforts. Let me point out that this has been the 'neatest' in-country review expert review team I have coordinated, and it has been a real pleasure.”

UNFCCC Secretariat

“The support provided by Aether for this project was especially remarkable considering the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tools and methods used in order to engage local stakeholders really added value to the capacity building of the national team.”

Shanna Emmanuel, Saint Lucia BUR Project Coordinator

“Aether's approach to couple innovative visualisation with high expertise manpower delivered valuable insights for our inventory work.”

Umweltbundesamt (Germany)

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Andreas Pilzecker, DG CLIMA

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Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

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