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 concentration and abundance of each gas along with how long they stay in the atmosphere determines their greenhouse effect. For each GHG, a Global Warming Potential (GWP) is assigned to reflect how long the gas remains in the atmosphere and 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

Lebanon’s GHG emissions represent 0.07% of global GHG emissions
  • 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 form an essential element of each national environmental policy-making process. They 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.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Non- Annex I Parties, among which Lebanon, have the obligation to submit national inventories of GHG emissions and removals 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 submitted its first national GHG inventory in 1999 as part of the Initial National Communication (INC) with the year 1994 used as the baseline year, and its second national inventory in 2011 as part of the Second National Communication (SNC), using the year 2000 as the baseline year and drawing time-series trend analysis from 1994 to 2004. In 2013, the activities for the preparation of the third national inventory and the first BUR have been launched. Updated GHG emissions are expected to be published by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) by the end of 2014.

Lebanon’s GHG Emissions

In the year 2000, Lebanon’s total GHG emissions recorded 18,507Gg (18.5 Million tonnes (Mt)) of CO2 equivalent (CO2eq), the energy sector being the main source of emissions, accounting for 74.86% of the total national emissions (53.45% from energy production and 21.41% from transport). Industrial processes and waste sector accounted for 9.62% and 9.40% respectively while emissions from agriculture and land use change and forestry contributed to 5.76%, and 0.36% of total CO2eq respectively.

Lebanon’s GHG emissions have increased by 27.6% since 1994, when total emissions were approximated to 15,901 tCO2eq. This represents an average annual growth rate of 2.77%. The fastest rate of growth occurred in the waste sector followed by the energy and industrial 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 Second National Communication report.