From Kansas State University's:

Consortium for Agricultural Soils Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases



Charles W. Rice, K-State Soil Microbiology, National CASMGS Coordinator

(785) 532-7217

Scott Staggenborg, K-State Extension Northeast Area Crops and Soils

Specialist (785) 532-5833

Kent McVay, K-State Soil and Water Conservation Specialist (785)


Steve Watson, CASMGS Communications (785) 532-7105


March 23, 2004

No. 32


This week's issue:



* U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increased In 2002

* Behind The Numbers: Analysis Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase

* From Prehistoric Plant Matter To CO2 In Today’s Atmosphere



* New Carbon Fund Launched

* Individual States Continue Actions To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions



* New Strategy Proposed For International Climate Conference: Forget Kyoto And Start Preparing for the Worst






U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Increased in 2002


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a draft version of the "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2002." The major finding in this year's report is that overall greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly, by 0.7 percent, from 2001 to 2002.


Overall, total U.S. emissions have risen by 13 percent from 1990 to 2002, while the U.S. economy has grown by 42 percent over the same period.


Fossil fuel combustion was the largest source of emissions, accounting for 81 percent of the total. The "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2002" is prepared annually by EPA, in collaboration with experts from a dozen other federal agencies, and is one of the most comprehensive analyses of greenhouse gases in the world. After EPA completes a final version of the document, the Department of State will submit the Inventory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A Federal Register notice announcing a 30-day public comment period on the report was published on March 1, 2004.


The full draft report is available at:






Behind the Numbers: Analysis of

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase


The recent EPA draft report (article above) states that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions overall increased 0.7 percent in the U.S. from 2001 to 2002, and 13 percent from 1990 to 2002. But what’s really going on with the various sources and sinks of the four major greenhouse gases? Let’s take a quick look behind the numbers, as explained in the EPA’s full report:


The two main reasons for the slight increase in overall GHG emissions from 2001 to 2002 are:

1. A moderate level of economic growth in 2002.

2. A much hotter summer in 2002, which caused an increase in air conditioning use nationwide.


Not all GHG emissions have been increasing since 2001, or even since 1990, in the U.S. The biggest increases have been in CO2 and halocarbons. (Halocarbons consist of a many types of synthetic carbon-based chemicals, such as refrigerants.) Nitrous oxide emissions have increased just a bit, and methane emissions have actually decreased over those time periods.


1. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: 1990 to 2002 -- Increase of 16 percent


Almost all CO2 emissions in the U.S. are from fossil fuel combustion, and that’s where the biggest emissions increases have been. Iron and steel production is the second-leading source of CO2 emissions in the U.S., but emissions from that source have been decreasing. Cement manufacture is the third-leading source, and those emission levels have remained about flat in recent years. All other sources of CO2 emissions in the U.S. are much less important.


The bottom line: Increased fossil fuel combustion is the cause of almost all the recent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.



2. Methane (CH4) emissions: 1990 to 2002 -- Decrease of 7 percent


The biggest sources of CH4 emissions in the U.S. are landfills, natural gas systems, enteric fermentation (gas emitted by domestic livestock), and coal mining. Emissions from each of these sources have been declining. Landfills is an interesting case. Although the amount of waste going into landfills is increasing, landfill operators are doing a much better job of capturing and using the methane emitted by landfills now, so the net release of methane from landfills in the U.S. has been declining recently. Emissions from the next largest sources, animal manure management and wastewater treatment, have remained about flat in recent years.



3. Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions: 1990 to 2002 -- Increase of 6 percent


The biggest source of N2O emissions by far is agricultural soil management. Although there has been a significant increase in N2O emissions from agricultural soils since 1990, most of that increase occurred in the early 1990s. Since 1996, N2O emissions from agricultural soils has remained flat.



4. Halocarbons (HFCs, PFCs, and SF6) emissions: 1990 to 2002 -- Increase of 39 percent


The biggest source of halocarbon emissions is from those chemicals being used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. Emissions from other halocarbons has generally been declining in recent years.



That accounts for the sources of greenhouse gas emissions. How about the sinks? For this, we look primarily to carbon sequestration.


About 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were offset in 2002 by carbon sequestration in agricultural soils, forests, trees in urban areas, and landfilled yard trimmings. However, this rate is gradually declining. The net carbon sequestration from forestry and land use change in the U.S. actually decreased since 1990, due mostly to a slowing rate of increase in forest area after 1997. Forests account for the vast majority (87 percent) of carbon sequestration in the U.S.


Taking the major sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the U.S. into account, the net result is that greenhouse gas levels (especially CO2) in the atmosphere continue to rise.


-- Steve Watson






From Prehistoric Plant Matter

To CO2 In Today’s Atmosphere


It takes 13 pounds of crude oil (on the average) to make a gallon of gasoline; and 196,000 pounds of prehistoric plant matter to make 13 pounds of crude oil, according to the April, 2004 issue of Discover magazine.


As mentioned in the January 13, 2004 issue of this newsletter, each gallon of gasoline releases 5.4 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere when it is burned. If all of the carbon is assumed to convert into CO2 when it is oxidized and emitted into the atmosphere, then one has to use the standard conversion factor: 1 lb of carbon = 3.67 pounds of CO2. Therefore, 5.4 pounds of carbon equals 19.8 pounds of CO2.


So as an example, by traveling about 22 miles in your car, each of us burns up 196,000 pounds of prehistoric plant matter and converts it into an additional 19.8 pounds of CO2 in the atmosphere. About 1.98 pounds of that CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and sequestered in agricultural soils, trees, and yard trimmings, according to the EPA’s figures as mentioned in the article above.


-- Steve Watson <>






New Carbon Fund Launched


The Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., was recently launched. Its goal is to purchase carbon dioxide credits on the open market, and retire them permanently. Credits will be purchased from a variety of markets across the world, including the U.S.


The Carbon Fund is environmentally rather than commercially motivated, and will not sell its credits on to other actors for a profit. Instead its founders promise to retire all the purchased CO2, in order to offset emissions caused by its investors.


The fund seeks investments from both companies and private persons, expecting the two groups to contribute equally much.


The fund will purchase credits from the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), the UK ETS, the Chicago Climate Exchange, and through various brokers. It will also support carbon reduction projects where carbon reductions can be certified. This process will be somewhat flexible as the trading and certification methods become more unified.


For more information, see:






Individual States Continue Actions

To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions


The Governor of Connecticut has accepted a set of recommendations that are estimated to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 4.05 MtCO2e below projected levels in 2010, a reduction of 8.5 per cent.


The recommendations from Connecticut’s Steering Committee on Climate Change includes restoration of the Conservation and Load Management Fund, establishing conservation funds for oil and natural gas, energy efficiency, a renewable energy strategy, forest and agricultural land preservation and more.


The measures will enable the State to achieve 52 percent of its overall 2010 goal of stabilizing emissions at 1990 levels, the target established by the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan of 2001, said the press release.


The Center for Clean Air Policy facilitated the yearlong Connecticut Climate Change Stakeholder Dialogue, during which the greenhouse gas reducing policy recommendations were developed and subsequently submitted to the Governor's Steering Committee on Climate Change.


Connecticut joins New Jersey, New York, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington as states that have taken some specific actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Together these states represent 3.9 percent of global CO2 emissions and 17.2 percent of US emissions.


For more details, see:






New Strategy Proposed for International Climate Conference:

Forget Kyoto and Start Preparing for the Worst


The last few conferences of the parties (COPs) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have all been about getting the Kyoto Protocol in place. Argentina, due to host the next COP in December, 2004 is set to give up on that angle.


In the past five international conferences on climate change, hopes have focused on attempts to get the United States and Russia to agree to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. But the wait has been in vain, and the global meetings flopped, one after another.


The strategy at the next conference, to be hosted by Argentina in December, will be to change the central focus of the debate, on the premise that climate change is inevitable even if emissions are drastically cut, and that developing countries must start getting ready to deal with the damages.


Instead of preparing for yet another meeting concentrated on bringing the Kyoto Protocol into effect, Argentina proposes discussing the creation of funds and mechanisms for “adapting” to the increasingly accelerated phenomenon of global warming.


The Argentine government's initiative, which has the backing of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as EcoLaPaz Environmentalist Association and Greenpeace-Argentina, will focus on the question of drumming up funds that would enable developing countries to create the infrastructure -- like irrigation or canal systems -- needed to deal with the changes provoked by global warming.


The Tenth Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-10) will be held Dec. 6-17 in Buenos Aires.


-- Inter Press Service News Agency, March 17, 2004

See the entire article at:






MEETINGS OF INTEREST (All dates are 2004 unless otherwise noted.)



April 13-15

15th Annual Earth Technologies Forum

Washington, DC.

For details, see


April 20-21

Point Carbon: Carbon Market Insights 2004

Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Contact: Mrs. Marte Nordseth, tel: +47 907 71 668, e-mail:


April 21- 24

Latin American Symposium About Carbon Sequestration

Curitiba, Parana, Brazil



April 25-30

EGU - 1st General Assembly


The BG 12 Regional greenhouse gas budget of the terrestrial biosphere session is addressed to researchers working on surface fluxes of direct and indirect greenhouse gases.

Co-Sponsorship: CarboEurope


April 28-30

CleanTech Venture Forum IV

San Francisco, CA


May 2-6

Third Annual Conference on Carbon Sequestration

Alexandria, VA

Sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy

For details, see


May 5-7

GHG Registries, Climate Policy, and the Bottom Line

San Diego, CA

For details, see


June 10-11

Energy & Agricultural Carbon Utilization Symposium

Sustainable Alternatives to Sequestration

Athens, Georgia

Co-hosted by Eprida and the University of Georgia

For more information, see:




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