US Air Force Office of Scientific Research Makes Two Awards for Thermoelectric Waste Heat Recovery Technology
China to be Site of First Commercial Implementation of TRIG Coal Gasifier

EPA Report Finds Significant Opportunity to Reduce GHG Emissions Through Materials and Land Management Practices


US GHG emissions allocated to systems, and by materials and land management. The Land Sink, represented by the outer ring, offset the equivalent of 13% of total US anthropogenic emissions in 2006. The entire pie chart represents total US emissions in 2006; the inner portion of the pie chart represents net emissions. Greenfield development emissions are not included in the Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, and are therefore depicted outside of the pie chart. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.

There is great potential to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions through materials and land management practices such as recycling, waste reduction, smart growth, and by reusing formerly contaminated sites including brownfields, according to a new report by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER).

The report uses a systems-based analysis—where each system represents and comprises all the parts of the economy working to fulfill a particular need—rather than the sector-based view consistent with international guidance that enables parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to compare the relative contribution of different emission sources and GHGs to climate change.

Based on this approach, the report finds that 42% of US greenhouse gas emissions are influenced by materials management policies. This includes the impacts from extracting raw materials, food processing, and manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of products. Another 16 to 20% of emissions are associated with land management policies. That includes emissions from passenger transportation, which represent the bulk of emissions in the land management system; construction; and from lost vegetation when greenfields are cleared for development.

In addition, the equivalent of 13% of US emissions is absorbed by soil and vegetation and can also be protected or enhanced through land management policies.

How we manage our materials and land—two of OSWER’s three core areas—has a significant impact on US GHG emissions and sinks. People produce GHG emissions through a wide array of activities and across multiple locations, including the goods and services we consume, the homes in which we live, the buildings where we work, the transportation of ourselves and our goods from place to place, and the materials we discard. Meanwhile, energy consumption, materials use, municipal waste generation, and land development rates have all outpaced population growth over the last several decades in the United States, contributing to the impact of these activities. There are significant opportunities to reduce or avoid GHG emissions by improving our nation’s materials and land management practices; these approaches complement and support end-of-pipe controls, sector-based and other mitigation strategies.

—“Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices”

Materials management refers to how material resources are managed as they flow through the economy, from extraction or harvest of materials and food (e.g., mining, forestry, and agriculture), production and transport of goods, provision of services, reuse of materials, and, if necessary, disposal.

The term “Land management” describes separate or integrated strategies that influence the management and use of land to provide open space and habitat, food, natural resources, and places for people to live, work, and recreate. For example, land management includes the practices of developing land and managing land for agricultural and forestry purposes. The way we manage our land directly influences GHG emissions related to agriculture, the built environment (e.g., residential and commercial emissions), electricity use, and transportation.

Local passenger transport accounts for most of the emissions assigned to land management policies—some 15% of US GHG emissions in 2006. Another 9% of US GHG emissions comes from “other passenger transport”, allocated to “other policies” in the OSWER analysis.

Land development patterns strongly influence the number of vehicle miles traveled, and therefore, the GHG emissions from local passenger transport. This component represents emissions associated with short-distance driving of personal vehicles, which increases as the area of developed land increases, as well as bus travel and commuter rail.

The “other” transportation emissions are largely composed of emissions from long-distance passenger travel (90% of the remaining other transportation emissions), including emissions from aircraft, inter-city rail, inter-city buses, cars, and light trucks making long-distance trips, and upstream industrial sector fossil fuel combustion.

Local Passenger Transport is presented separately from Other Passenger Transport with the expectation that each is subject to a different set of prevention-oriented mitigation options. Local Passenger Transport emissions can be reduced through land management practices such as infill development and effective urban planning, as well as through enhancing public transit. These approaches complement sector-wide mitigation strategies, such as biofuel substitution or improved vehicle fuel economy because they reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, reducing emissions from vehicle manufacturing, road maintenance, and non-GHG pollution as co-benefits. These strategies can work in concert with sector-wide strategies to reduce overall transportation emissions.

Land management policies have less of an effect on non-local transportation, which is why these emissions are presented separately. Prevention-oriented policies to reduce inter-city passenger transportation include activities which shift travel to lower-impact modes of travel and promote more efficient loading or movement within modes.

—“Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions”

Some of the materials and land management activities that have the potential to decrease emissions highlighted by the report include:

  • reducing the use of non-packaging paper products;
  • increasing municipal recycling, and recycling of construction and demolition debris;
  • reusing land, including redevelopment of formerly contaminated lands;
  • reusing formerly contaminated lands for renewable energy development; and
  • encouraging smart growth. Smart growth has been shown to reduce household vehicle miles traveled by 20-40% compared with conventional development practices.

The report suggests that land management and materials management approaches should be part of the nation’s toolbox to meet the target of an 83% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.




I suspect EPA has developed some sort of search engine - something like an inverse Google.

They ask it, what don't we control, who haven't we issued regulations to, what activity no matter how small doesn't need our direction?

The answers come out in batches of 1000. Mobilization is ordered, and across the fruited plain EPA marches out and combats Evil.

Henry Gibson

Lets us not continue to deny that all humans, plants and animals and most bacteria release green house gases.

The other thing that we cannot continue to deny is that materials purchased from other parts of the world cause the additional release of green house gases.

The third thing that cannot be denied is that if the US terminated today all releases of green house gasses from fossil fuels most people in the US would be reduced to worse than poverty and there would not be a useful drop in the world wide greenhouse gases.

Germany implemented laws along with the EU to reduce green house gases years ago, and their releases are even greater now.

The wealth and strength of an economy comes from the availability of cheap energy. This was initially agriculture several millenia ago. Advanced civiliztions require far more energy to mine minerals and produce the goods that are demanded.

Because of the emergence of China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia as major world industrial powers, there is nothing that the US can do to effect a useful reduction in CO2 content of the air except set the example of wide spread and near total adoption of nuclear generated electricity and nuclear generated heat for major cities. Remote home heating is very well accomplished by electric powered heat pumps.

Coal, previously used for generating electricity can be used to make fuel for transportation. Vehicle electrification will reduce the need for liquid transportation fuels, and even lead batteries are sufficient for most vehicle trips especially the advanced lead batteries if tiny fuel powered generators are present for long trips. Heat from nuclear reactors will replace some heat now used in the production of liquid fuels. German developed pebble bed reactors, also tested by the Chinese, can be used to produce hydrogen with their high temperature operation. Heat from reactors can also be used to capture and concentrate CO2 from the air and other sources.

A very few billion dollars would allow Hyperion Power Generation to bring their reactor into quick factory production. Their reactors, when combined with UTC or Ormat geothermal electricity production equipment, can be installed in less than a month. Every Federal building and every State office building can be lighted heated and cooled by such units.

The uranium centrifuges now being proposed can make all the fuel needed for such units. The units themsevelves, as well as any other reactor, can be slightly modified to produce some of their own fuel from the far more abundant thorium.

Both Canada and Australia have enough uranium for hundreds of years supply to the US. The US has also sufficient, but oil money is going into and has been going into environmental groups to prevent the US mining or uranium. The people who donate to these groups may not even know that the money they donate comes from oil or coal interests.

Lead is poisonous forever. Mercury is poisonous forever. Copper is poisonous for ever. Nickel is poisonous forever. Iron is poisonous forever. Lithium is poisonous forever. If a child ate five grams of fine lead powder and was not treated for a day or two it would survive and not be affected much. If the child ate five grams of fine iron powder it would die in a day or two. Children are accidentally poisoned occassionally with supplimental iron tablets. The modern copper plated zinc pennies are deadly if swallowed.

The transuranic elements in the fuel rods removed from nuclear reactors do not need to be stored forever; they can be built into new reactor fuel where they will disappear and produce more energy. The fission products in such rods can also be chemically extracted to reduce the volume of fuel to be stored by a factor of thirty or more.

No one can easily steal a mix of transuranic elements from an operating reactor, and it is impossible to make a powerful nuclear bomb out of them. Ordinary nuclear reactors do not make the right mix of plutonium isotopes to make a bomb. It would be far better and safer to steal new fuel rods and extract the highly concentrated uranium isotope out of them.

Reprocessing fuel rods and putting the uranium and transuranic elements into new uranium fuel rods makes it almost impossible to make bombs out of them or to make new plutonium for bombs.

We allow thousands of people to perish every month in the US, many because of the use of alcohol and others because of unsafe road conditions. Laws that effectively eliminated people from driving who imbibe alcohol and drive such as mandatory imprisonment for a year would eliminate many of these fatalities. Calling a cab or a tow truck to get home after drinking, would become a real option for people. It has been shown possible to have cars test for people impaired by alcohol and not operate.

There are atoms of radioactive carbon 14 in all of the food we eat, and this is in addition to many more atoms of radioactive potassium in all of the food that has ever been eaten by anything living on the planet from the beginning of the earth. The least costly and only possible way of not being exposed to radioactive food is to stop eating. People can and do chose to not live with the dangers of life. Exposure to a few kilograms of nearly pure carbon 14 will cause deadly damage in less than a few minutes. Turtles can survive for hundreds of years with all their exposure to Carbon 14 and the many other nuclear radiations they get from the shy and soil and food.

Then one clear answer to making radioactive elements adequately safe is to dilute them. This is also true of light radiation from the sun. More than a million times fewer organisms would die from nuclear radiation than from other causes if all the fission products were dissolved in the oceans. Live organisms have built in repair mechanisms. The distance that a nuclear particle or wave has to travel through the water also protects sea life. Divers have been used to make repairs in nuclear reactors because they are highly protected by the water.

There is no reason that nuclear waste storage has to protect this and future generations from all possible dangers when this is not done for highways, houses, sidewalks, dams, mines, aircraft, farms, stairways, bathtubs, childrens toys, bicycles, charcoal lighter fluid, gasoline, propane, homecleaning products et cetera.

All nuclear fission products can be mixed with bentonite clay and put in a deep pit far below sea level in a mostly solid rock formation near the sea coast and it won't cause the demise of more than three people a year over a million years. Texting on cell phones have cost hundreds of lives by now.

There is not a large amount of nuclear waste compared to the waste of a single town. Not even a city of 100,000. In fact all of the fission products could be stored adequately safe in the bottom layer of a town dump.

A single pit two thousand feet deep and nine feet in diameter will never be filled to the thousand foot level with all the fission products for a hundred years or more.

There is much money available to spread false fears about nuclear power. Oil interests and coal interests have no reason not to attempt to divert nations away from nuclear energy, and they have the enormous profits of recent years do afford to do it. An income and profit disaster, such as France was and is, cannot be tolerated by the oil interests including especially the US government elected and appointed and employed officials.

How many oil dollars have been funneled into Senator Reids and Obama's opposition to Yucca Mountain cannot even begin to be examened. How many oil dollars have been funneled into California's rejection of coal and nuclear fired electricity, even if generated out of state, and the advocacy of natural gas instead cannot even start to be investigated. These dollars could simply even be going to support the false claims that Wind generators can supply so many homes with electricity when even the largest wind turbine by itself cannot supply a single house with electricity all the time. Even with the cheapest batteries, the cost of wind energy is doubled or tripled. Windturbine promoters never reveal the actual costs of providing substitute power for failed wind or low wind, and in fact they claim that such costs do not exist, but there is a power plant in the US which makes most of its money, not by operating, but by being available to start up one or more of its 16 or more engines when extra power is needed by an interconnected electric company.

Automobiles are not required to be perfectly safe for their operators and users. In fact the requirements of efficiency by the government makes the use of heavy safer vehicles more expensive and impossible for many people. The US government would not allow automobile companies to only produce or import HUMMERS.

The US government and the populace should not then force the power companies and reactor builders to only produce and use HUMMER reactors. Only when HUMMER reactors are not required, can nuclear power fairly compete with the oil industry. ..HG..


The nuclear industry of the 60's and 70's created their own demise, with astronomical cost overuns, several scary near-failures, failure to develop some kind of waste disposal plan, and (in Cal.,) building on top of faults, etc.
Unfortunately, the public is generally close minded about it today.
The Hyperion looks like it solves many of these issues but it needs to be deployed, and proven.
The argument that opened my mind is: You can dig a pit or put more barbed wire around nuke waste containers, but you cannot put barbed wire around CO2 released by fossil fuels.


Energy is just one source of CO2. And frankly, nuclear is a high cost and not a long term solution to it.

The EPA and similar organizations is charged to look after our environment. Why be cynical about it? It's doing it's job.

This paper tries to get to that issue. How we develop infrastructure will influence use and emmissions. Foresight is needed.

Cheap energy is an excuse that needs to be exorcised. Efficient economies make better use of the available resources and develop techniques and technologies that compete. Cheap energy creates slothy attitudes that don't. And that addiction to cheap energy hides and create alot of undesirable attitudes our society has.

The comments to this entry are closed.