UK Map Ds

National Atmospheric Emissions inventory for the UK

Case study - National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI)

Ricardo manages the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (NAEI) programme on behalf of the UK Government and has done since its inception in the 1970s.

The NAEI encompasses complete estimates of anthropogenic emissions to atmosphere of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and criteria air quality (AQ) pollutants to enable UK Government to meet international reporting obligations and provide the underpinning evidence base for climate change and air quality policy.

Our team uses the best data and science for emissions from all forms of fuel combustion, industrial processes, agriculture, waste management activities and from land use change. Outputs cover national datasets as well as emissions per sector, down to very local estimates for emission maps and associated AQ modelling, such as:

  • UNFCCC submissions: GHG inventory, Biennial Transparency Reports
  • UK GHG national statistics, enabling reporting against Carbon Budgets
  • National air quality inventory submissions to the UNECE (CLRTAP)
  • Inventories for all of the devolved Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for both GHGs and AQ pollutants
  • GHG statistics for all 430 Local Authorities, 15 National Parks and emission maps

These outputs include emissions from power stations, from roads, from farms, from shipping lanes, from oil and gas rigs - from every source imaginable.


  • To compile and report emissions of all GHGs and AQ pollutants from every source in the UK, drawing on the best available data, using internationally-recognised methods.

  • To meet UK reporting obligations to the UNFCCC, UNECE and to support reporting and policy development at UK, Devolved Government and local authority level for air quality and climate change. 


We’ve been developing and improving the accuracy and resolution of UK emissions evidence since we started compiling the UK inventories more than 50 years ago. Our team of emissions experts deliver world-leading analysis, developing complex models that accurately estimate emissions of GHGs and AQ pollutants from all manner of sources: from planes, trains and automobiles, to livestock, grassland and cropland, from energy supply infrastructure, from asthma inhalers to squirty cream canisters.

We work with statistics agencies, regulators, academics, trade associations and companies to gather and curate activity and emissions data, then deploy a series of tailored inventory models to implement internationally-recognised methods to derive high quality, accurate, policy-sensitive emissions data.

We help UK Government to get the very best out of the investments in UK institutions, statistics, academia and regulations to generate a complete evidence base that enables joined-up policy development across the twin challenges of climate change and air quality. Scenario modelling tools that project emission estimates according to user selections are built upon the underpinning emissions modelling that the NAEI delivers.

NAEI emission maps provide the essential geo-spatial resolution and accessibility to support detailed air quality modelling, heat-mapping and policy development to inform local to national plans and strategies to move towards net zero and address local air quality management challenges.

Ricardo can draw upon a vastly experienced team, including UNFCCC and UNECE Lead Reviewers, authors and review editors of international guidance (IPCC and EMEP/EEA inventory good practice) and even a Nobel Prize winner! We routinely engage with international peers and experts, to support global progress towards enhanced transparency and improving emissions evidence.


The NAEI Programme has supported the understanding of atmospheric emissions, development of international agreements, protocols and collaborative working arrangements in the areas of both greenhouse gas and air quality pollutant emissions over the past 50 years. Our team currently includes five fully qualified UN Expert Reviewers for Inventories and a number of world leading sector experts in the emissions inventories field.

The NAEI has also provided the underpinning evidence base from which policies and statutory targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants has been developed in the UK. For example, it provides the evidence base used in the formation of, and to track commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under, the UK Climate Change Act and the UK’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement.

The NAEI is consistently recognised as one of the best emissions inventories in the world. It undergoes scrutiny from expert reviewers under the UNFCCC and UNECE regularly, routinely receiving good feedback as a complete and compliant inventory.

Ricardo has built a number of tools to help users analyse the data including a web-based portal allowing users to view, understand and interrogate spatially mapped NAEI data. This provides an intuitive approach to further analysing emissions and is an innovative approach communicating atmospheric emissions to the public. The NAEI is also used to underpin the Scenario Modelling Tool (SMT).


UK Government Departments for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

Start and end dates

03/1975 - 03/2025


50 years



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