AT&T Becomes Lead Customer for Ford Transit Connect Electric Vans
A123 Battery System to Power Navistar’s Electric Class 2c-3 Trucks

Draft of EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory Shows Overall GHG Emissions Down By 2.9% in 2008; Transportation Emissions Down 5.7% in Largest Annual Change Recorded Since 1990

CO2 emissions from the US transport sector, 1990-2008. Data: EPA. Click to enlarge.

The draft report of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s annual Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2008 shows that in 2008, overall greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions decreased by 2.9% (206.1 Tg CO2 Eq). This report attributes the downward trend primarily to the decrease in demand for transportation fuels associated with the record high costs of these fuels that occurred in 2008.

CO2 emissions from the transportation sector dropped 5.7% to 1,785.3 Tg CO2 in 2008 from 1,893.8 Tg CO2 the year before—the largest annual change in either absolute or percentage terms recorded between 1990 and 2008.

Additionally, electricity demand declined in 2008 in part due to a significant increase in the cost of fuels used to generate electricity. Total emissions from GHGs were about 6,946 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent. Overall, emissions have grown by 13.6% from 1990 to 2008. The report is open for public comment for 30 days after the Federal Register notice is published.

Transportation. The transportation end-use sector accounted for 1,818.1 Tg CO2 Eq. in 2008—32% of CO2 emissions, 24% of CH4 emissions, and 65% of N2O emissions from fossil fuel combustion, respectively. Fuel purchased in the US for international aircraft and marine travel accounted for an additional 135.2 Tg CO2 in 2008; these emissions are recorded as international bunkers and are not included in US totals according to UNFCCC reporting protocols.

Light duty vehicles represented 62% of CO2 emissions within the sector, medium- and heavy-duty trucks 22%, commercial aircraft 7%, and other sources 9%.

From 1990 to 2008, transportation emissions have risen by 22% due, in large part, to increased demand for travel and the stagnation of fuel efficiency across the US vehicle fleet. Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by light-duty motor vehicles increased 37% from 1990 to 2008 as a result of a confluence of factors including population growth, economic growth, urban sprawl, and low fuel prices over much of this period. Similar social and economic trends led to a significant increase in air travel and freight 30 transportation by both air and road modes during the time series.

EPA largely attributed the decrease in transportation sector emissions in 2008 to the decline in economic activity and the increased price of transportation fuels. Almost all of the energy consumed for transportation was supplied by petroleum-based products, with more than half being related to gasoline consumption in automobiles and other highway vehicles. Other fuel uses, especially diesel fuel for freight trucks and jet fuel for aircraft, accounted for the remainder.

The inventory tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2008 at the national level. The gases covered by this 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 US government will submit the final inventory report to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The 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.




I feel cooler already.


How close is the relationship between the Gross Domestic Product and GHG changes?


I've seen enough discussion of the GDP/GHG issue that I should know this off the top of my head, but I don't. I do recall that the relationship varies widely depending on the source of a nation's energy and the price of motor fuel. Some of this is due to geography, but the bulk of it is policy (nuclear vs. coal vs. natural gas, truck vs. rail).

Stan Peterson

More drivel about outputs and inputs,that only confuses and distorts the real issue. North America is a NET carbon sink. Every molecule of CO2 that Man or Nature emits into the atmsopsphere here, is absorbed and sequestered, here; and then some more from elsewhere too.

The job, if there really is a job to do, at all, is done.


Stan Peterson says:
North America is a NET CARBON SINK.

The US forest service says: From 1990 through 2005, the forest sector (including forests and wood products) sequestered an average 162 Tg C/ year.

1 Tg = 1 megaton.

US carbon emissions: ~1800 Tg C /year.

I have pointed this out to you on this forum only yesterday (and even that wasn't the first time), but here you are repeating this nonsense again and again. Seems like we have a classic case of "dogmatic rejection of reality".



The relationship GDP/GHG seems to be very close for 2009. I agree with you that many more factors are involved.

Stan Peterson


Please desist from providing me with a relatively useless single datum of information, and (triumphantly) treating is as if it meant a damn thing.

Please provide me all the TOTAL Man-made and Natural emissions; and all the TOTAL Man-made and Natural sequesters and compare the two. When you compile and provide that list, how accurate is every measure? How do you know that you haven’t missed something? You don’t. Don't forget that a mighty oak drops an acorn and sprouts a seedling. But he doesn't file EPA paper reports about it. Natural estimates are just that, guesstimates. The error bars of some large natural CO2 fluxes, is larger than the the total Man-made CO2 flux. Which is guestimated,(again), to be 2-4% of the the total annual CO2 flux.

For example what is the emission/sequester of BLM lands, or various kinds of deserts, or private Silviculture stands, or private ranchlands, or public ranchlands, or private farmland, or reforesting abandoned farmland?

Or the effects of inland waters, on CO2 levels. Or the general 'greening effect' measured by the satellites of increased CO2 levels for the stunted, CO2 deprived plants. North America contains several “inland seas” and water both emits and sequesters CO2, depending. It is entirely a different thing, a growing silviculture forest, compared to a mature, no net growth, unmanaged National forest. So what are they?

And I could add a dozen more easily too.

That is NOT the approach taken by the Princeton University research teams. Their multiple published scientific papers were all peer-reviewed, and never refuted.

The treated the North American continent north of 51 N, as a “black-box” or more precisely as a “black-pipe”. They used Kirchhoff’s Law which paraphrased states: "What goes into the pipe, equals what comes out of the pipe, less what’s still inside, “in-between”." This is merely a flow restatement of the Law of Conservation of Matter. That matter may neither be created, nor destroyed. The transit time of an intercontinental weather front is miniscule compared to the relatively infinitesimal, supposedly monotonic increasing, level of CO2 in the well-mixed atmosphere.

If you sample and measure all the air going into the pipe; and then sample and measure all the air coming out of the pipe; you really don’t care in particular, what every little place, and various way, it is changed, “in-between”. You don’t have to worry about accurately measuring each such emission/sequestration, nor its error bars. Nor do you worry you missed something.

You obtain the NET effect of ALL the emissions and sequestrations. It includes every single one you have thought of; and others you didn’t even know existed. This is what they did for North America. (and elsewhere too) They reported north of 51N because that is the prevailing wind at those Latitudes, and essentially contain all of America and Canada.

What they found established that the air leaving North America into the Atlantic, is depressed in CO2 levels; over the air entering North America, from the Pacific.

They compared the two and established that North America is a NET Carbon Sink.

Nor should that be surprising. Asia is rapidly industrializing with little concern for emissions of any kind. Transiting across the Pacific it may also have added out-gassing from the warmer Pacific surface waters.

Furthermore we North Americans have made sacrifices to establish huge land set-asides, that sequester CO2. Admitedly not for those reasons, but they still serve as sequesters. I'll leave it to you to compute and counter my assertion, that there is more land set aside, as parkland and wilderness in the USA, than the entire area of the 13 colonies at the time of the Revolution.

More than the entire land area of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticutt, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

What is surprising is that a modern industrial civilization, that produces 25% of the world’s goods with 6% of the world’s population, still does not add any NET CO2. Therefore industrial civilization, crude as it remains in energy generation and still just burning hydrocarbons for more than half, is fully sustainable, and not drowning in its emissions.

And I have not even raised the issue of Climate-gate hoaxes. Nor modern 21st century Science research that indicates that the so-called GHG catastrophe happened eons ago. This planetary atmosphere in contact with a literal ocean of liquid GHG water, is now in energy equilibrium, of a “Saturated GHG State”, and will not accept any more net GHGs, for energy balance reasons. Nor should we fear a few more molecules of a non-toxic and necessary trace gas.

Any or all three, undermine any need to be concerned with a benign trace gas and plant fertilizer. Further the CARBite misguided fools, with their AB32; and the EPA enviro-radicals, can all merit and await repeal and dismissal. Perhaps Europeans and Asians who are net Carbon Sources need to concern themselves with CO2 emissions; but we have already started & finished, our job, even were it needed.



USA, Canada and Australia are the worse per capita polluters at close to 25-tonne/year.

India and China are comparatively very clean.

Japan and Europe create about half.

If the three leaders (USA-Canada-Australia) were to include all the pollution created by the production of all goods they import from countries like China, Japan, India, etc their total would be more like 50 tonnes per capita per year. This will get even worse when we outsource more and more manufacturing.

Alberta is already over 75-tonne per capita (imported manufactured goods excluded), if included, the grand total could be over 100-tonne per capita per year.

Stan Peterson

So there are outputs to production and consumption. What makes you think there would not, or could not be such? If you correctly handle the outputs, so what?

North Americans,as demonstrated, do handle the atmospheric outputs correctly, and demonstrate further that it can be done. What we do, can be replicated elsewhere.

Thank you for confirming my assertions.


Don't forget that North Americans export the blame for GHG emissions along with import of cheap goods from third world countries.

Nat Pearre

Stan Peterson: You claim to make three points. I'll take them all down now.

1) Do you mean this Princeton study?

Read more carefully, they're referring to a GROSS sink, not a NET sink of 1.7 +/- 0.5 Pg/year. Also, the oceans, as they point out very clearly, are a NET sink so stop your babbling about "out-gassing from the warmer Pacific surface waters".

In contrast, carbon emissions around that time for the US alone were about 1.35 Pg/year, dominating the North American total of 1.6 Pg/year. In contrast, America's emissions last year (EIA) were 1.6 Pg, while NA's were 1.88 Pg.

Since 1.6 = 1.7 +/- 0.5, you cannot say that North America is a sink. It was a wash then, and is a wash now (we've grown some, and Canada and Mexico have grown a lot).

And it is worth pointing out that the size of our terrestrial sink is due to the fact that a lot of our forest land is regrowing, because we're importing huge amounts of timber from Russia, so we're "importing our sequestration". And as Anne pointed out, we're correspondingly "exporting our CO2 emissions" every time we buy manufactured goods from overseas.

You hold aloft land set-asides, and talk about our sacrifices. What we have sacrificed to have our national forests are the forests of other countries that must be cut down to build our houses. Man, we're such martyrs, preserving our environment by paying others to destroy theirs.

2) If you think all AGW is a hoax, you probably shouldn't be siting this paper, since they specifically mention global warming (and indeed give it credit for part of NA's terrestrial sink by way of longer growing seasons in high latitudes).

3) If the atmosphere were in equilibrium, or saturated, then atmospheric CO2 concentration would not be rising. Yet it is. NOT equilibrium.

The comments to this entry are closed.