EPA requests comments on annual GHG inventory

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comments on the annual “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010” (inventory) draft report. The Inventory is the United States’ official estimate of total national GHG emissions, and is developed annually to meet commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The draft report will be open for public commentary for 30 days.

The draft report shows that in 2010, overall GHG emissions increased by 3.3 percent from the previous year. This trend is attributed to an increase in energy consumption across all economic sectors, due to increasing energy demand associated with an expansion in the economy. Total emissions from GHGs were about 6,866 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. Overall, emissions have grown by 11 percent from 1990 to 2010.

The gases covered by EPA’s inventory include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation and soils.

This annual report is prepared by EPA in collaboration with experts from other federal agencies. After responding to public comments, the U.S. government will submit the final inventory report to the Secretariat of the UNFCCC. This report will fulfill the annual requirement of the UNFCCC international treaty, ratified by the United States in 1992, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

More information on the draft report and submitting comments can be found at
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/usinventoryreport.html.

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