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Concepts and definitions

Biomass-based carbon dioxide (CO2-bio)

Biomass-based carbon dioxide emissions are generated from biomass burning. Biodegradation, for example at landfills and in wastewater treatment, also causes biomass-based CO2 emissions but they are not evaluated separately. Biomass includes wood, biogas, sludge from wastewater treatment and biodegradable waste. In Finland, most of the biomass-based CO2 emissions from burning are generated by burning of black liquor in the forest industry. Burning of other wood-based biomass is also a major source. Biomass-based CO2 emissions from burning are not included in energy sector emissions in the greenhouse gas inventory because they are included in carbon stock changes in the land use sector.

CRF tables

The Common Reporting Format tables used in the national greenhouse gas inventory and accepted by the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most significant greenhouse gas produced by humankind. Most carbon dioxide produced by humankind originates from the use of fossil fuels (including oil, coal and natural gas). Another important source of emissions is the destruction of tropical forests and other land-use changes.

Carbon dioxide equivalent

A joint measure of greenhouse gas emissions by which to sum up the effect of various greenhouse gas emissions on the acceleration of the greenhouse effect.

Emission intensity

Total quantity of a selected emission, expressed as a proportion of a specified quantity. E.g. carbon dioxide equivalent tonnes per value added.

F gases

F gases, or fluorinated greenhouse gases, are a common term for HFC compounds (hydrofluorocarbons), PFC compounds (perfluorocarbons), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitric trifluoride (NF3). They are strong greenhouse gases (GWP 12-22800), the emissions of which are to be reduced by international climate conventions (e.g. the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement). F gas emissions are reported in the greenhouse gas inventory. The most significant sources of emissions for these gases are refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

GWP factors

GWP (Global Warming Potential) factors used in commensurating different greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gas inventory uses the factors of the IPCC Assessment Reports decided under the UNFCCC and the EU at a given time. Starting from the inventory year 2021, the factors of the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report (AR5) are used.

Greenhouse gas

Greenhouse gases reported in the greenhouse gas inventory are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and fluorinated greenhouse gases or F-gases (HFC compounds (hydrofluorocarbons), PFC compounds (perfluorocarbons), sulphur hexafluoride SF6, and nitrogen trifluoride NF3). Other significant greenhouse gases include water vapour, ozone and the so-called CFC and HCFC compounds reported under the Montreal Protocol. Greenhouse gases cause global warming by preventing the heat radiation from the sun from returning into space.

Greenhouse gas inventory

The greenhouse gas inventory is an annual calculation of the greenhouse gas emissions and removals generated in each country's territory in accordance with the IPCC methodological guidelines and the requirements of international climate conventions, and the results of which are gathered into common Reporting Format Tables and the National Inventory Report. The inventory is submitted annually to the European Commission. In addition, it is delivered in alternate years either as an independent entity or in connection with the biennial report of the Paris Agreement, compiled every two years, to the UNFCCC Secretariat.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares scientific assessment reports on the progress of climate change, its mitigation and adaptation to it for national and international decision-making. In addition, the IPCC develops methodological guidelines for assessing national greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The purpose of the work of the IPCC is to produce necessary and relevant information for decision-making but not to guide decision-making.

In Finland, the IPCC work is carried out by an IPCC working group appointed by the Ministry of the Environment, which brings together researchers in the field and representatives of various ministries.

Indirect greenhouse gases

Carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other volatile organic compounds than methane (NMVOC) contribute to the greenhouse gas effect by forming ozone (O3) and/or carbon dioxide (CO2) or nitrous oxide (N2O) in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases formed from such compounds in the atmosphere are referred to as indirect greenhouse gases in the greenhouse gas inventory. CO, NOx and NMVOC emissions are restricted under other international agreements, such as the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants, and they are not subject to the reduction targets of the Paris Agreement, for example. However, their emissions are also reported in the greenhouse gas inventory and emissions of indirect greenhouse gases are taken into consideration in total emissions.

Key category

The emission category to be prioritised in the national greenhouse gas inventory because it has a significant effect on the country's total greenhouse gas emissions, the volume and/or trend of emissions/removals.

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol under the UNFCCC is the first legally binding convention with which emissions have been reduced internationally. The Protocol obligated the industrialised countries mentioned in its Annex to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with their country-specific commitments in the Annex (the first commitment period of 2008 to 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol). Emission reduction commitments were updated for the second commitment period (2013 to 2020).


Land use, land-use change and forestry sector in the national greenhouse gas inventory.

Land use category

The land use category is determined by the primary (principal) or economically most significant mode of land use prevailing above ground level. Land areas are classified by their use and according to what happens on ground level either naturally or as a result of human activity. A certain area can belong to only one land use category. Use of an area refers to its actual use for some purpose, not to its potential or planned use.

Methane (CH4)

Methane is produced in connection with the digestion and decomposition of organic substances, e.g. manure, wastewater sludge or biodegradable waste. In addition, it is generated in livestock enteric fermentation, which is the largest source of methane emissions in the greenhouse gas inventory. In addition to the above, methane is generated in incomplete combustion and evaporates in the processing, transfer and distribution of natural gas and biogas.

Monitoring Mechanism (EU)

A mechanism based on the decision of the European Parliament and of the Council for monitoring community greenhouse gas emissions and for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, which obliges the Member States to contribute the EU's common greenhouse gas inventory and other climate policy, and to monitoring and evaluating detailed measures under it.

National Inventory Report

A report containing the results of the national greenhouse gas inventory, which must be submitted annually to the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the EU and in future also to the Paris Agreement. The National Inventory Report includes information on the development and sources of greenhouse gas emissions and removals, the methods, assumptions and data sources used in the calculations, uncertainty assessment and quality assurance of the reporting country.

National monitoring mechanism for greenhouse gas emissions

International climate conventions (incl. the Paris Agreement) and the EU require each country to have a system for the assessment and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The division of responsibilities related to the inventory as well as the legislative and procedural arrangements are defined and reported for the system. In Finland the responsible unit appointed for the system is Statistics Finland. The Ministry of the Environment is the national body responsible for the Climate Convention (UNFCCC).

Nitrous oxide (N2O)

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a substance causing ozone depletion and it is a significant greenhouse gas. Its contribution to the greenhouse gas effect per unit of mass is approximately 300-fold that of carbon dioxide. Agriculture is the biggest source of nitrous oxide emissions.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels and to work towards measures that would limit global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. The agreement complements the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Under the agreement, progress towards the goals will be reviewed every five years. The first overall review will be carried out in 2023.

In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, all parties to the agreement are expected to take ambitious and over time tightening measures to reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, increase climate funding, develop and transfer technology, strengthen operational capability and increase transparency. The Paris Agreement does not contain quantified emission reduction commitments, but the parties undertake in the agreement to prepare, inform, maintain and achieve their consecutive national emission targets. The parties have a duty to prepare a national contribution every five years, and the latest national goal must always be more ambitious than the previous one.


In connection with changes in the methodological and source data, the standard procedure used in the inventory calculations is to recalculate the estimate by using the same method and uniform source data for all the inventory years to ensure uniformity and consistency.

Removal (from atmosphere)

A carbon sink absorbs some chemical compound that contains carbon, usually carbon dioxide. The most important carbon sinks are the seas and forests. Algae and plants absorb carbon dioxide into biomass in photosynthesis. Biomass growth in forest trees significantly absorbs carbon. Carbon accumulates in litter, dead wood and soil, but it is also released in the decomposition process. Carbon is also dissolved in the sea as carbon dioxide and other inorganic forms.


Any process, action or mechanism that absorbs greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A carbon stock to which more carbon accumulates than is released into the atmosphere or transferred to another stock can also be called a sink.


Any process or action releasing greenhouse gases, aerosols or precursors of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.


The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Volatile organic compounds excl. methane (NMVOC)

NMVOC is a generic name for volatile organic compounds that easily vaporise in the atmosphere, excluding methane. Volatile organic compounds are released, for instance, in burning processes and when using solvents. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) and NMVOCs react in the presence of sunlight to produce ozone.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Greenhouse gases [e-publication].
ISSN=1797-6065. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 22.6.2024].
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