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No. 406: Quality manual for the Danish greenhouse gas inventory. Version 3

Nielsen, O.-K., Plejdrup, M.S., Winther, M., Gyldenkærne, S., Thomsen, M., Nielsen, M, Mikkelsen, M.H., Albrektsen, R., Hjelgaard, K. & Bruun, H.G. 2020. Quality manual for the Danish greenhouse gas inventory. Version 3. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 44 pp. Scientific Report No. 406. http://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR406.pdf 

Summary

This report is a manual for the Quality Control and Quality Assurance of greenhouse gas emission inventories performed by the Department of Environmental Science. This third version updates the second version published in 2013. While the basic structure of the QA/QC remains the same some changes have been made following the experiences by the Danish inventory team since 2013, furthermore the lessons learned through the different QA processes have been used in expanding and improving the QC work undertaken by the Danish inventory team. The manual will be continuously reviewed and updated as necessary. The manual is elaborated as required by the UNFCCC reporting guidelines, the decision establishing a National System under the Kyoto Protocol. The QA/QC manual adheres to the technical guidance provided by the IPCC. Some extensions have been made to complete the manual. The ISO 9000 standards are also used as important input for the structure of the manual. The work with quality is sub divided into the following elements:

  • Quality Management, that co-ordinates activities with regard to the quality system.
  • Quality Planning, where quality objectives are defined including specification of necessary operational processes and resources to fulfil the quality objectives.
  • Quality Control, that secures fulfilling of quality requirements.
  • Quality Assurance that provides confidence for fulfilment of quality requirements.
  • Quality Improvement that increases the ability to fulfil quality requirements. 

In the ISO 9000, the term quality relates to the fulfilment of requirements, where the requirements are generated from need or expectations as stated by either organizations, customers or interested parties. The organizations can be seen as the international community. The requirements from the international community are assumed to be reflected in the UNFCCC reporting guidelines and the IPCC Guidelines.

A solid and clear definition of when the quality is sufficient is an essential platform for the Quality Management. However, such a definition is missing in the UNFCCC reporting guidelines. The standard of the inventory result is defined as being composed of the accuracy and regulatory usefulness. The goal is to maximise the standard of the inventory and the following statement defines the quality objective:

The quality objective is only inadequately fulfilled if it is possible to make an inventory of higher standard without exceeding the frame of resources.

This statement does not secure that the inventory provides results of a sufficient standard for the end-user. If the standard is judged to be unsatisfactory by the end-user on one hand while the Quality Assurance shows the quality to be sufficient on the other hand, then a demand for additional resources for inventory work exists. If this is the case, the resource responsible authorities are to be consulted.

The Quality Planning is based on the data flow in the inventory. The flow of data has to take place in a transparent way by making the transformation of data detectable. It is important that it is easy to find the original background data for any calculation and easy to trace the sequence of calculations from the raw data to the final emission result.

The objectives for the Quality Management, as formulated by IPCC Guidelines and the UNFCCC reporting guidelines, are to improve elements of transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy. Two other factors are included in this manual as they are deemed important to the quality of the inventory: (1) Robustness of the inventory in relation to change in conditions like staff and external data availability. (2) Correctness of the data handling by elimination of miscalculation.

The means for the Quality Planning have to be detailed measurable checkpoints imbedded throughout all activities in the inventory and they are denoted Point of Measurements (PMs). A consolidated version of a PM listing is reported in this manual compared to the first version of the manual. Several additional PMs have been added based on the experiences gained. Furthermore, some PMs have been reworded to more closely match the identified need or deleted.