The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed by about 150 countries in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 indicating widespread recognition that climate change is potentially a major threat to the world's environment and economic development. The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would not jeopardize climate. The Convention also requires all Parties to develop, periodically update, publish, and make available to the Conference of the Parties (COP) their national inventories of anthropogenic emissions of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.
The IPCC definition for net carbon dioxide emissions is the ''difference between sources (any process, activity, or mechanism that releases a greenhouse gas, an aerosol, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol into the atmosphere) and sinks (any process, activity, or mechanism that removes a greenhouse gas, an aerosol, or a precursor of a greenhouse gas or aerosol from the atmosphere) of carbon dioxide in a specific area or region in a given period.''
The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories identify six modules for the greenhouse gas inventory: (1) energy, (2) industrial processes, (3) solvent and other product use, (4) agriculture, (5) land-use change and forestry, (6) waste. In module (5) the potential sinks are accounted.
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