EUROPA - EDGAR Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions on EDGARv4.0


On this page, frequently asked questions on EDGARv4.0 or general questions related to EDGAR are answered.

Before sending an e-mail to greet.maenhout(at), please check the information below to see if your question has been answered. For specific questions on previous EDGAR datasets you are referred to the archived EDGAR website.

By asking us questions or by sending us suggestions for improvement we assume that you do not object in posting your remark (anonymously) on this FAQ list unless you explicitly state that you do not want your remark to put in the FAQ list.

  1. Basics
  2. Methodology
  3. Results
  4. Download of data
  5. Other questions
  6. EDGAR v4.0 standard reporting codes compared to EDGAR v3 reporting codes
  7. What’s new and what is changed in EDGARv4.0 compared to EDGAR v3.2

1. Basics

How should I cite EDGAR data in my publication?

We appreciate that you use EDGAR data as reference data for you scientific, policy or other applications. As mentioned in the disclaimer the following reference should be used for publications, presentations, websites, etc.: Source: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)/Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), release version 4.0., 2009.

In figures and tables this may be abbreviated as:
Source: EC-JRC/PBL. EDGAR version 4.0., 2009.

See also the disclaimer.

How are the source categories defined?

A description of the sources and regions used in EDGAR v4.0 is provided in the Definitions section under Information. The standard sources are defined using the IPCC source categories and codes developed by the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme (Reporting guidelines in the revised 1996 IPCC guidelines). The first number identifies the main source sector:

  1. Energy (including biofuel combustion and gas leakage, venting and flaring)
  2. Industrial processes (non-fuel combustion sources, incl. F-gas use)
  3. Solvents and other product use
  4. Agriculture (including savannah fires)
  5. Land-Use Change and Forestry (including post-burn decay and drained peatlands)
  6. Waste
  7. Other

These IPCC source categories have been defined for reporting of national greenhouse gas inventories under the UN Climate Convention and also for reporting by European countries of national air pollutant emission inventories to the UN-ECE secretariat under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and to the European Commission as required in the NEC directive. For more details see the methodology page or the IPCC guidelines common reporting framework.

Could you provide graphs to include in my publication?

At the web site we provide per compound graphs on emission trends, source categories and emissions on grid. You may use this in publications provided that you include a reference to the EDGAR data as described above. Also we point you to our copyright statement.

If in doubt or if you would require a higher resolution picture, please contact us.

How about uncertainties in the EDGAR datasets?

It is inherent to emission inventory calculations that the results are accompanied with uncertainty. Documentation describing and quantifying uncertainty in EDGARv4.0 is in preparation. Information on uncertainty in previous EDGAR inventories can be found in MNP site.

When are new datasets being released?

This is one of the most asked questions. Frequent users of the EDGAR dataset know that the different EDGAR datasets are released with intervals of several years. This is because of various reasons like funding, data availability and the fact that emission inventory calculations simply take time, much more time than inventory users usually imagine. An overview of current available dataset can be found in the overview page. Information on new datasets will be posted in the what's new section and registered users will receive an e-mail. Forthcoming datasets in the year 2009 are: air pollutants, fixes of caveats found in EDGARv4.0 data and in 2010 a dataset which is extended to more recent years (see question below).

When will you update the emissions to a more recent year e.g. 2008?

This principally depends on (i) the availability of international statistics all covering more recent years, and (ii) on the interest and capacity available by the EDGAR consortium.

In general the "delay" in international statistics is approximately 1 year for OECD countries and 2 years or more for non-OECD countries (e.g. energy statistics, FAO datasets, official inventories, etc). This means that in order to provide consistent emission inventories for the world's countries in 2008 the activity data to support such an inventory is available in mid-2010 after which the emission inventory calculations can start.

2. Methodology

Is there an official mapping of the old EDGAR source categories (F10, F20, etc.) to the IPCC source categories (1A1, 2A, etc.)?

Yes, see section 6 of this FAQ.

Could you provide the underlying activity with which the emissions have been calculated?

No, unfortunately we cannot. Often the activity data used were based on international statistics or commercial firms compiling industry statistics. We are sorry, but we cannot provide the activity data at country level since the proprietary rights of this data are with the organization that compiled them.

Could you provide the basic emission factors with which the emissions have been calculated?

The emission factors we used vary from rather aggregate to very detailed with some emission factors taken from inventory guidance documentation and sometimes based on confidential information. In forthcoming publications on the EDGARv4.0 inventory, individual or aggregated emission factors will be provided. On a case-by-case basis we could consider exchanging information on emission factors but this will depend on staff availability. Our interest here would be to improve scientific insights within the inventory community leading to joint-publications.

Could EDGAR, in addition to the annual emissions, provide time profiles for seasonality or diurnal variation?

Currently temporal allocation of emissions is not included in EDGARv4.0 due to time limitations. At the old EDGAR website we provide for test-run purposes a set of temporal factors. The original set was made by Veldt (for LOTOS, a European climate model) and used winter/summer, weekday/weekend and night/day variation the new one uses monthly, daily and hourly factors. Most new profiles show a sinusoidal curve (contrary to the step functions of Veldt). For more information see the MNP page.

Could you also provide the emissions from natural sources, such as from volcanoes or lightning?

The focus of the EDGAR system is on anthropogenic emission sources. For global and gridded estimates of natural emissions we refer to the GEIA/IGAC inventories, which provide natural emissions for several compounds and many sources, including volcanoes, lightning, soils and oceans. For an overview of emissions from natural sources see e.g. the Emission inventories of natural sources page.

3. Results

Why are the EDGAR data different from official national inventories?

The EDGAR set of inventories were compiled from the perspective of providing good quality reference estimates of anthropogenic emission sources per source category, based on scientifically sound input data and recent guidelines on emission calculation methodologies. This was done be using (a) international statistics as activity data, since these are comparable between countries in definition and units, (b) emission factors from the relevant scientific literature, also common across countries when judged comparable, and (c) grid maps for allocating sectoral emissions of a country to a grid, in principle common per sector, thus achieving spatial consistency per sector across compounds and years.

We acknowledge that our approach has limitations too, e.g. EDGAR estimates will differ more or less from official national emissions, both at national total sectoral level and at grid level, but this approach was required to arrive at emissions for various source categories, which are defined identical across countries and regions. For greenhouse gases, one notable difference with national reports is that EDGAR v4.0 uses the new default emission factors from the 2006 IPCC guidelines, whereas the inventories reported under the UN Climate Convention mostly use the Revised 1996 IPCC guidelines or the IPCC Good Practice guidelines published in 2000. Nevertheless, because of its internal consistency as mentioned above and uses the most recent insights in default emission factors for greenhouse gases and air pollutants, we think that this dataset is by its nature a good one for many reference purposes, e.g. as input for global or regional atmospheric models or scenario models or other policy analysis. Therefore the present EDGAR national estimates can be called 'reference datasets'.

What causes the differences in biomass burning/deforestation emissions in EDGAR and IPCC reports and other literature?

Large-scale biomass burning emissions are very uncertain by their nature. Uncertainty comes into the equation e.g. when estimating (a) the amount of hectares burned; (b) the density of above-ground biomass per hectare; (c) the fraction of above-ground biomass actually burned; (d) the carbon content in the aboveground biomass (when emission factors are expressed relative to CO2). For reasons of transparency and consistency we used the GFED and RETRO datasets which estimate the data of amounts burned based on satellite observation and landuse maps. In addition to these combustion sources, we calculated the associated CO2 from post-burn decay of remaining aboveground biomass and from decomposition of organic carbon in drained peat soils.

The total CO2 emissions from the amount of biomass burned thus calculated (i.e. including post-burn decay and peat decomposition emissions) appears to be approximately at the same level as the IPCC global sector total estimate for biomass burning, when including CO2 from decay of remaining aboveground biomass.

What to do when I find caveats in the datasets that are not described in the EDGAR documentation?

In all cases that you identify emission estimates in the EDGAR inventories that you think are incorrect or are outside the expected uncertainty range, e.g. in comparison with other estimates, or from analysis with atmospheric models, we appreciate you letting us know. This is important information for us, and possibly for other users as well. We may include it in the list of known caveats or use it in future improvements of the datasets.

Please note that if you are a registered EDGARv4.0 user you already have confirmed to provide the EDGAR project team with feedback on the emission dataset that will be used for improvements in the interest of all users.

What's new and changed in greenhouse gas emissions in EDGAR v4.0 compared to 3.2?

See section 7 of this FAQ.

4. Download of data

Why don't you provide the country emissions files in Excel spreadsheets instead of the Comma Separated Value (CSV) format?

The CSV format was chosen because it allows exchanging our data with users on different computer platforms and software applications.

When I download country data from EDGAR 4.0, it opens in excel in an unreadable format -- with all the data compressed into the first column.

Opening the csv files in excel is not difficult once you know the method how to do this. There are 2 options:

  • Importing in excel
    Open a new workbook,
    Data --> Import External Data --> Import Data...
    Select your file, Choose .csv file type, click OK & you should now encounter that familiar dialog box that asks you about delimiters & types. Make the appropriate selections and the data can be viewed.
  • Text to column in excel
    Open the file in excel,
    Select the whole first column,
    Select under <data> text to column command and the data can be viewed.

I am trying to register/download on the EDGAR site; however it seems that the webpage is down?

Under normal conditions the EDGAR website should be available continuously so the chances of not being able to download or register are small. However, periodically maintenance on the data-servers is required. In case you can't register/download please try again after one hour if the problem persists inform us by sending an e-mail to greet.maenhout(at)

Do you have an anonymous ftp site where the emission data can be downloaded instead of through a web page?

There is no anonymous ftp data download enabled. In order to provide support and inform users about updated datasets data can only be downloaded via the webpage after registration.

5. Other questions

JRC The mission of the JRC is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. As a service of the European Commission, the JRC functions as a reference centre of science and technology for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or national.