EPA Publishes 30th Annual U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 30th annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory), which presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2021. Net U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 5,586 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2021, a 6% increase in emissions from 2020. The increase is largely due to a rebound in economic activity following the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, emissions have declined overall since 2005 (17%), which reflects the combined impacts of several factors, including energy market trends, technological changes including energy efficiency improvements, and the carbon intensity of energy fuel choices.
“For 30 years EPA has worked with researchers, federal partners, and stakeholders to produce a detailed and complete inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks,” said Joseph Goffman, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “This work reflects our commitment to transparency, data quality, and timeliness as we meet our inventory obligations under the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change.”
For this latest release, EPA has made several important improvements, including updates to estimates for oil and gas and for flooded lands such as hydroelectric and agricultural reservoirs.
See related article: U.S. EPA Proposes 56% Vehicle Emissions Cut By 2032, Requiring Big EV Jump
The GHG Inventory covers seven key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. In addition to tracking U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the Inventory also calculates carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere through the uptake of carbon in forests and other vegetation.
This impartial, policy neutral report has been compiled annually since 1993 and submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report is prepared by EPA in collaboration with numerous experts from other federal agencies, state government authorities, research and academic institutions, and industry associations. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), national inventories for UNFCCC Annex I parties should be provided to the UNFCCC Secretariat each year by April 15.
In an effort to engage the public and researchers across the country, EPA conducts an annual public review and comment process for this document. The document was made available on the EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions website and announced via Federal Register Notice for 30 days. Comments received after the closure of the public comment period are accepted and considered for the next edition of this annual report. Public review of this year’s report occurred from February 15 to March 17, 2023, and comments received are posted to the docket EPA-HQ-OAR-2023-0001. Responses to comments will be posted to EPA’s website within 2-4 weeks following publication of this report.
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