EPA Study: Up to 62% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Influenced by Materials Management and Land Management


photo: J. Novak

It wasn't until very recently that the EPA declared that carbon dioxide poses a threat to human health. With the government's stated goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 83 percent by 2050, a recent EPA study examines the actual impact of carbon dioxide emissions. While the study considers the impact of carbon dioxide emissions in broad terms, it provides a general idea of which areas control the largest pieces of the impact pie.According to a recent EPA study, 42 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are influenced by materials management policies while another 16 to 20 percent of emissions are influenced by land management policies. Materials management includes the process of turning raw materials into a manufacturing end-product. For example, the extracting, manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of raw materials.

Another huge piece of the greenhouse gas emissions pie is influenced by decisions regarding land use. For example, the manner in which we plan our cities and suburbs influences a broad range of practices, including passenger transportation and infrastructure construction. Those practices, in turn, can influence the efforts made to mitigate vegetation loss when fields are cleared for development. That's important because approximately 13 percent of carbon emissions are absorbed by the soil. Informed development planning can help prevent the deterioration of a particular area's ability to absorb these emissions.

More on the EPA:
It's Official: EPA Finds Greenhouse Gases Endanger Public Health
Obama EPA May Regulate CO2 for the First Time Ever
TreeHugger Talks to Lisa Jackson, EPA Chief on New EPA, Youth, CO2: "We Have a Moment" [Video]

Tags: Urban Planning | Waste