Attributing and Verifying European and National Greenhouse Gas and Aerosol Emissions and Reconciliation with Statistical Bottom Up Estimates

AVENGERS aims to reconcile reported greenhouse gas emissions with independent atmospheric observations, to reduce the most important uncertainties of national emission inventories. The project brings together traditionally separate acting experts for atmospheric observations and emission inventories. The project runs for 42 months, from January 2023 to June 2026.

The European Union and its member states strive to be on a fast track to climate neutrality until the middle of this century, or even earlier if feasible. To achieve this goal, emission inventories are invaluable for mapping and monitoring the path to climate neutrality. Compiling these inventories for reporting of greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement is a very complex task. Emission inventories are generally compiled “bottom-up” from available statistical information on (economic) activities. For example, data from national statistical organisations are used to assess fossil fuel consumption for the reporting of CO2 for each sector. The 2019 refinements for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines on national greenhouse gas inventories recommend the implementation of systems for additional scientific validation that support emission inventories by independent approaches based on atmospheric observations and inverse modelling. However, verification of emission inventories using this top-down approach, is only about to start.


The overall ambition of AVENGERS is to provide improved estimates of the major anthropogenic greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4 and N2O) and aerosol emissions with reduced uncertainties and detailed source attribution from atmospheric observations. This will allow the reconciliation of bottom-up inventories compiled by the national inventory experts with atmospheric observations and an improved understanding of remaining discrepancies between the bottom-up and top-down approaches. Besides technological advancements, this also entails studies focusing on specific sectors in the participating countries. Furthermore, our ambition is to overcome the barriers between the traditionally separated atmospheric observations and inventory experts. Therefore, we will develop good practice guidelines for the implementation of atmospheric observations for emissions verification at country level. These guidelines will be assisted by software solutions for inventory compilers, illustrating the general concepts and strengths and weaknesses of top-down emissions estimation to inventory compilers.


The AVENGERS consortium comprises 13 partners from five European nations (NL, SE, GE, IT, FI) and one European Research Infrastructure Consortium and brings together experts from academic research (e.g. VU, Lund University, Heidelberg University) and inventory compilers (e.g. RIVM, Umweltbundesamt).

RIVM role

As the leading institute in the compilation of the Dutch emission inventory (, RIVM not only contributes its expertise in the reporting of emissions, but its participation also ensures that the knowledge developed in this project will be implemented in national emission registries. Margreet van Zanten is coordinating RIVM’s contribution to the project. Other RIVM colleagues involved in this project are Loes van der Net and Hannes Witt. 


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101081322.