The European project VERIFY aims to provide the European Commission with a system to estimate greenhouse gas emissions to support emission reporting submitted by each country under the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change.

© Foto2rich | Shutterstock

© Foto2rich | Shutterstock

Since the pre-industrial era, atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) has increased by 40 % and that of methane (CH4) by 150 % and, since 1980, nitrous oxide (N2O) levels have leapt by 20 %. These greenhouse gases (GHG) are the cause of rapid climate change, the harmful consequences of which are becoming every day more apparent. Many stakeholders – companies, regions or States – are committed to reducing their GHG emissions in order to combat global warming. To assess the scale of their efforts, precise estimates of these emissions are needed, at various geographical scales and over various time-frames. These must be based on transparent and traceable methods compliant with international standards

The European VERIFY collaboration interacts closely with the research institutes and the IPCC on scientific matters, as well as with the GHG measurement infrastructures. VERIFY performs research needed for pre-operational policy-relevant GHG observation system, including algorithms for the estimation of fossil fuel combustion CO2 emissions, terrestrial CO2 sources and sinks and carbon stocks, and all types of CH4 and N2O emissions. At a European level, it uses high-resolution data from surface networks (e.g. ICOS) and satellites.

IIASA EPIC and G4M models contribute to high-resolution simulations of the net annual CO2 fluxes as well as carbon stocks on agricultural and forest land, respectively. The IIASA models, in a synergy with other VERIFY models, account for the impact on the net ecosystem carbon balance of climate change, atmospheric CO2 increase, changes in nutrient availability and land use/management changes, including crop varieties and fertiliser inputs for cropland, and the current stand structure and management practices over Europe for forest. 

The “pre-operational” system and basic scientific knowledge developed by VERIFY will naturally be transferred to an operational centre (for example the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Great Britain). VERIFY will also make its advances available to a range of international projects measuring and monitoring GHG (such as the Global Carbon Project) resulting from the United Nations Future Earth programme, and the World Meteorological Organisation. 

Launched in February 2018, VERIFY is bringing together 38 different partners from 12 European countries and is coordinated by the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives, France. The project will contribute to deliver policy-relevant information to track progress of the EU mitigation efforts to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate.

Text adapted from the official CEA and VERIFY project website. 

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Last edited: 11 October 2018


Juraj Balkovic

Senior Research Scholar Agriculture, Forestry, and Ecosystem Services Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program


01.02.2018 - 31.01.2022


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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