Greenhouse Gas Report Mixed

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency released its 20th annual greenhouse gas inventory using its new online Data Explorer Tool, which provides the mixed news in graphic form. The interactive tool provides data from the annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, and it can be used to create customized graphs, examine trends over time, and download the data, the agency announced in a press release Thursday.
     This year’s inventory shows a two percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 over the previous year, but there has been an overall nine percent drop in emissions since 2005. At 31 percent, power plants are the largest source of emissions, followed by transportation at 27 percent and industry at 21 percent.
     The annual inventory presents the data since 1990, and measures the seven key greenhouse gases of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride.
     “Although the direct greenhouse gases CO2, CH4, and N2O occur naturally in the atmosphere, human activities have changed their atmospheric concentrations. From the pre-industrial era (i.e., ending about 1750) to 2013, concentrations of these greenhouse gases have increased globally by 43, 152, and 20 percent, respectively,” according to the report’s Executive Summary. These emissions drive climate change, which not only affects health through bad air quality, but also creates extreme weather events and contributes to food-, water- and insect-borne diseases, the agency said. The new data tool is essential to understanding the sources of emissions and to identify “cost-effective opportunities to reduce them,” according to the EPA.
     In response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is designed to “eliminate billions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution, save lives through air quality benefits and save Americans money at the pump,” the agency said.
     The interactive online data tool allows users to download data by sector, year and particular emission. The EPA has planned an informational webinar April 22, which happens to be Earth Day, to demonstrate the Data Explorer tool and its features, and provide a tutorial on common searches.

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