Greenhouse Gas Inventory

A greenhouse gas (GHG) contributes to the greenhouse effect by absorbing infrared radiation produced by solar warming of the earth’s surface which traps heat in the atmosphere making the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in GHG in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.

The effect of gases on climate change is determined by three main factors:

  • Concentration and abundance of each gas: Larger emissions of greenhouse gases lead to higher concentrations in the atmosphere further amplifying the greenhouse effect.

  • Residence time in the atmosphere: the longer GHGs reside in the atmosphere the more they will absorb heat and contribute to the warming of the planet.

  • Global warming Potential (GWP): Some gases have a stronger impact on climate change and are more effective at warming the planet. Therefore, each GHG is assigned a Global Warming Potential (GWP) to reflect how strongly it absorbs energy. Gases with a higher GWP absorb more energy, and thus contribute more to warming the Earth.

The Most Common Greenhouse Gases

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): Carbon dioxide is introduced into the atmosphere mainly through burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas and oil), solid waste, trees and wood products, and also as a result of certain chemical reactions. Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere (or "sequestered") when it is absorbed by plants as part of the biological carbon cycle.

  • Methane (CH4): Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from livestock and other agricultural practices and by the decay of organic waste in municipal solid waste landfills.

  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O): Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of fossil fuels and solid waste.

Other GHGs include Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), Perfluorocarbons (PFC) and Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6) that are mainly emitted by refrigeration and air conditioning manufacturing. Other gases that contribute indirectly to the greenhouse effect, include Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOC) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).

Reporting National GHG Inventories

Inventories of GHG emissions are an essential element of each national environmental policy-making process. GHG inventories can be used to derive information on emissions trends, with reference to a pre-selected base year, and can assist in monitoring the progress of any abatement measures for the reduction of GHG emissions.
In accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Parties are required to develop and report national inventories on national emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHG) using comparable methodologies as part of their National Communications (NC) and their Biennial Update Reports (BUR). The "Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories" and the "Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories" are the official methodologies that developing countries use to calculate and report their emissions. Lebanon has already submitted three national GHG inventories with base years of 1994, 2000 and 2011 (MoE/UNDP/GEF, 1999; MoE/UNDP/GEF, 2011; MoE/UNDP/GEF, 2015).

Lebanon's GHG Emissions

In the year 2012, Lebanon’s total GHG emissions recorded 26,333 Gg (26.3 Million tonnes (Mt)) of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq), excluding removals by sinks. Lebanon’s GHG emissions have increased by 89% since 1994, when total emissions in 1994 were approximated to 13,947 Gg of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq). This represents an average annual growth of 4.67% of greenhouse gases in Lebanon.

The main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is the energy production sector with 53% of GHG emissions, followed by the transport sector (23%).  Waste sector and industrial processes accounted for 10.7% and 9.7% respectively while emissions from agriculture and land use change and forestry (LULUCF) contributed to 3%, and 0.04% of total CO2eq respectively.  

The fastest rate of growth occurred in the transport sector followed by the waste and energy sector. A significant decrease in emissions was noted in the Land Use and Forestry sector in addition to a slight decrease in the agriculture sector. More details available in the Third National Communication report.