31 May 1996



Third session

Geneva, 9-16 July 1996

Item 7 of the provisional agenda


Initial report on an inventory and assessment of technologies

to mitigate and adapt to climate change



Note by the secretariat


1. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), at its second session, considered the preparation of a technology inventory and assessment, as mentioned in decision 13/CP.1, and based its discussions on the initial report of the secretariat on this subject (FCCC/SBSTA/1996/4).

2. In its conclusions, the SBSTA:

(a) "Recognized that the identification of and information on technologies and know-how that could assist the Parties in the preparation of national plans would be particularly useful, and urged all Parties who have not already done so to provide the secretariat with information and databases on environmentally sound and economically viable technologies and know-how conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change, including information from the private sector when possible, and to continue to do so on a routine basis in the future";


(b) "Requested the secretariat to continue its activities, in cooperation with other relevant organizations, related to the preparation of an inventory and assessment of environmentally sound and economically viable technologies and know-how conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change, to take into consideration the activities of other United Nations agencies and intergovernmental organizations, and other relevant programmes and to use all means possible to communicate the information to Parties";

(c) "Further requested the secretariat to inform the SBSTA periodically about new information on technologies and know-how in the research and development stage that may be conducive to mitigating and adapting to climate change and activities aimed at increasing the diffusion and commercialization of such technologies and know-how" (FCCC/SBSTA/1996/8, section VII).


3. According to this mandate the secretariat continued to update the database on information sources on technologies by classifying and entering the incoming submissions by Parties, specialized agencies and other bodies of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, and other institutions. This document contains new information sources and is a supplement to the document FCCC/SBSTA/1996/4/Add.1.


4. Since the SBSTA "recognized that the identification of and information on technologies and know-how that could assist the Parties in the preparation of national plans would be particularly useful" (FCCC/SBSTA/1996/8, para. 82), the secretariat draws special attention to the following entries, selected only from the new submissions, which can be considered helpful in this manner:

Computer software

5. The secretariat has received several types of computer software. One type, item (a) below, is primarily a database on technologies containing technical, environmental, and financial information. The second type, items (b), (c) and (d), are simple models that enable the user to compare technologies or evaluate options according to different criteria, for example, minimal costs. (Parties should note that additional software is identified in the IPCC Second Assessment Report Working Group II, chapter 27 "Methods for assessment of mitigation options"):

(a) The IIASA CO2 Technology Data Bank was developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) as a software system for collecting data on technologies related to CO2 emissions. Technical, economic and environmental data, labour and material information on nearly 1000 technologies are stored in the data bank.

Technologies can be linked to a chain of primary energy, secondary electricity, final electricity and energy service, and costs and emissions of different chains can be calculated and assessed;

(b) The Greenhouse Gas Assessment Methodology (GGAM) was originally written for the World Bank to use in the preparation of project proposals. It was developed jointly by the Center for Global Change at the University of Maryland, United States of America and the Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden. It offers a user-friendly tool for graphical comparison of alternative projects. Project information is entered through an interactive questionnaire that is linked to an extensive database of reference technologies. It calculates the costs, environmental impacts, and cost-effectiveness of the alternative projects. Although the reference technology database is built on published studies of the environmental impacts of energy technologies that have been carried out principally in Annex I countries, GGAM has an easy-to-use provision for updating the database with information about the specific conditions, fuels, or types of technologies being considered for use in non-Annex I countries;

(c) The Instruments for Reduction Strategies of Greenhouse Gases (IKARUS) was developed by the Programme Group Technology Assessment (TFF) in the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany with support from the Federal Government of Germany in order to simulate and evaluate alternative actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a time horizon up to the year 2020 for Germany. The software contains a technology database and an optimization model which simulates the energy flow of Germany in approximately 2000 aggregated energy technologies. It also includes simulated models of the electricity, industry, and transport sectors which can be used for detailed case studies and which can provide emission and cost information;

(d) The Information System on Conservation and Application of Resources Using a Sector Approach (ICARUS) was developed for the Netherlands by the Department of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Utrecht. It may be used to evaluate the effects of financial policy instruments, such as carbon taxes or investment subsidies. For different options the software calculates the fuel and electricity savings, the avoided CO2 emissions, yearly and total costs and the cost-effectiveness of CO2 emission reduction and energy conservation for 2000 and 2015 in the Netherlands.


6. The secretariat also received a number of reports of which three are highlighted in this context:

(a) "Comparing energy technologies" by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a follow-up to the "IEA/OECD Scoping Study: Energy and Environmental Technologies to Respond to Global Climate Change Concerns". This publication examines currently available methodologies for comparison of energy technologies; it provides suggestions for their development, for consideration by both research and development practitioners and policy makers. It also presents actual examples of how governments go about making energy research and development choices;

(b) "The case for solar investments", a paper by the World Bank, summarizes the technical and economic prospects for solar energy technologies and outlines a two-part programme that would help to commercialize solar energy use in developing countries. The first part of the programme describes a "pipeline" of investments drawing on financial resources that are already available for well prepared investments. The second part concerns the need to expand public research and development at the national and international level in support of private initiative;

(c) "A guide for methane mitigation projects, gas-to-energy at landfills and open Dumps" by the United States Environmental Protection Agency provides guidelines for developing programmes to reduce methane emissions from landfills and large open dumps by recovering and utilizing landfill gas. It provides a step-by-step method for identifying and evaluating landfills and open dumps that are promising candidates for emissions reductions through gas recovery and utilization.