Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Study Finds Government Inventory of Agencies’ GHG Emissions 'Vastly Distorted'

Climate

The Wilderness Society

Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from federal lands and waters could be more than 20 times what the federal government reports, according to a new scoping study commissioned by The Wilderness Society. The White House Council on Environmental Quality potentially omitted nearly 95 percent of GHG emissions from federal lands and waters by not properly accounting the emissions associated with coal, oil, and natural gas extraction through federal leasing to private companies.

"Unfortunately, the public has been receiving a vastly distorted view of the greenhouse gas emissions from federal lands," said David Moulton, senior director for legislative affairs for the Wilderness Society.

"It is like reporting on the size of an elephant by only looking at the trunk," said Moulton.

According to the scoping study, which presents a preliminary estimate of the extent of GHG emissions associated with fossil fuels extracted from federal lands and waters through private leasing, the total emissions amount to approximately 1,551 million metric tons of carbon dioxide originating from federal lands—far more than the 66.4 million metric tons reported by CEQ. More than half—57 percent—of the missing emissions come from coal, with the rest from offshore oil (16 percent), onshore natural gas (10 percent), offshore natural gas (9 percent), and a combination of onshore oil, coalbed methane, and natural gas liquids (collectively approximately 7 percent). Altogether, the unaccounted emissions from fossil fuels extracted from federal lands could total nearly 25 percent of annual GHG emissions nationwide.

A 2009 executive order called on federal agencies to report and reduce GHG emissions within each agency, but did not include the emissions that result from burning the fossil fuels extracted through private leases on federal lands.

"The administration deserves credit for attempting to account for the sources of emissions, but its failure to include the effects of the fossil fuels extracted from federal lands leaves an incomplete picture," said Moulton.

The Wilderness Society recommends that the White House and federal agencies properly account for all of the GHG emissions that result from their work, not just the emissions that the agencies are directly responsible for such as those from heating and lighting buildings and driving government vehicles.

The entire scoping study, prepared for The Wilderness Society by Stratus Consulting Inc., can be found online by clicking here.

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less