Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) are essential for transparency between countries as they track their greenhouse gas emissions. By emphasizing common standards, MRV ensures that countries are on the same page when it comes to the methodologies they use. Additionally, MRV is a crucial element of implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which describe countries’ climate change mitigation and adaptation goals and plans. Science-based and transparent MRV is essential for monitoring progress on climate mitigation goals.
The emphasis on MRV, as well as the term itself, is an outcome of the 2007 Bali Action Plan, which calls for “measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation commitments or actions” by all countries. More recently, countries agreed to provide emissions data and track progress against their mitigation goals as part of their NDCs. The emphasis on tracking that has resulted from MRV has both domestic and international benefits. Domestically, countries can use MRV to better understand emissions sources and sinks, track their mitigation goals more closely, and design stronger climate change mitigation strategies and policies. Internationally, MRV lends itself to more robust transparency, comparison with similar countries, and can assist with unlocking access to new sources of funding.
Much of USAID’s work with MRV is related to the agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) sector, in which MRV is used to track emission reductions resulting from reforestation, land use change, agroforestry, changes in agricultural practices, etc. For example, Low-Emissions Opportunities in Agriculture, a partnership between USAID and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), supports partner countries in achieving mitigation in the agriculture sector. SilvaCarbon, a joint partnership of multiple U.S. federal agencies, including USAID, seeks to build global capacity for monitoring and managing forest and terrestrial carbon, leveraging U.S. science and technology to assist countries towards self-reliance. And Resources to Advance LEDS Implementation (RALI) supports the development and implementation of low emissions development strategies (LEDS) in developing countries. RALI is responsible for the creation of a number of tools in support of MRV, including the MRV Harmonization Framework and the Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) tool.
Below are a selection of Climatelinks resources, tools, and blogs related to MRV:
- Making trees count: Measurement and reporting of agroforestry in UNFCCC national communications of non-Annex I countries is a recently published journal article examining the lack of agroforestry accounting in many MRV systems around the world. The serious implications of this gap in reporting are covered in detail, and recommendations are made to raise the visibility of agroforestry in MRV reporting and better match ability to ambition.
- The Measuring, reporting and verification livestock GHG emissions by developing countries in the UNFCCC report summarizes current practices, challenges and opportunities in the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of livestock greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and emission reductions. The report overviews MRV obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), describes current practices in compiling and reporting livestock GHG emissions through national inventories and MRV of mitigation actions, and highlights opportunities for improvement.
- The first-of-its-kind RALI GHG MRV Harmonization Framework is a six-step approach for identifying areas where greenhouse gas mitigation impacts are not reflected in a country’s GHG inventory, to analyze options, and to develop solutions. The framework can also be used to develop MRV methods that align with national GHG inventory needs. The application of the Harmonization Framework also benefits from the direct experience of RALI climate change practitioners, whose significant experience helping developing countries quantify emissions and the impact of mitigation policies was a key component in the Framework’s creation.
- The Overview of Semi-automated Approaches for Monitoring National Deforestation provides an overview of approaches taken by countries to produce estimates of deforestation within their territory using guidelines for carbon measurement, reporting and verification. Advances in satellite monitoring of forests have led to more automation, which is expected to better enable countries to regularly report on their mitigation actions. This paper discusses MRV methods using both automation and analyst input.
- The Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Carbon Calculator is a set of simple, user-friendly, web-based calculation tools. The Calculator, which employs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) based carbon accounting methods, allows users to estimate the absorption and storing of carbon dioxide benefits. It can also determine the emissions reduction potential of eight different types of land-use and management project activities: forest protection, forest management, afforestation/reforestation, agroforestry, cropland management, grazing land management, forest degradation by fuelwood, and the development of land management policies.
- The CCAFS Mitigation Options Tool provides information needed to prioritize and make science-informed decisions about low-emissions opportunities in agriculture. It can estimate greenhouse gas emissions from crop, livestock, agroforestry and rice management systems by country or geographic region. The tool ranks mitigation options for each system according to mitigation potential and compatibility with food production, and in relation to current management practices and climate and soil characteristics.
- The Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) Tool calculates emission reductions from clean energy activities, including renewable energy (e.g., solar photovoltaic, wind turbines, geothermal, hydroelectric), energy efficiency (e.g., building and appliance efficiency), biomass energy, fuel switching, and additional technology types. It allows users to estimate, track, and report greenhouse gas reductions from clean energy in order to determine the cost-effectiveness and emissions reduction potential of their activities.
- Strengthening Greenhouse Gas MRV Systems in Colombia takes a deeper look at the RALI project’s Strengthening Greenhouse Gas MRV Systems in Colombia case study. The blog presents case study findings, such as how the RALI MRV Harmonization Framework was used to improve the alignment of GHG accounting between mitigation activities in Colombia and the Colombian national inventory. The blog is also available in Spanish.
- Improved Accounting for Agroforestry is Needed Immediately; May Attract Climate Finance explores the benefits of agroforestry and how it has not been properly accounted for in existing MRV methodologies. It looks at problems for improving agroforestry MRV and proposes a number of potential global advancements before diving into region-specific examples and opportunities in Africa and Latin America.
- Guidance for Emissions Reporting in the Livestock Sector is a contribution from the Low-Emissions Opportunities in Agriculture project. It takes a closer look at a CCAFS Livestock MRV Info Note titled “Monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock: current practices and opportunities for improvement.”
Stephan Hardeman is the Site and Community Manager for Climatelinks. He draws on more than five years of experience in communications for international environmental trust funds to support Climatelinks through USAID’s Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) initiative by engaging the Climatelinks community and featuring its work. Stephan has MAs in International Affairs (American University) and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (United Nations University for Peace) and BAs in English and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.