Last week, the US Geological Survey (USGS) published a report (PDF) that concludes that fossil fuels extracted from public lands represent 23.7 percent of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions. Those numbers include carbon dioxide released during drilling and the process of coal mining, as well as carbon dioxide that is released when oil, gas or coal that comes from public lands is processed and burned.
Drilling and mining in the US UU They can occur on private land, or fossil fuel companies can seek contracts with the federal government to drill and mine. Oil drilling on the high seas, a controversial issue among coastal states that are reluctant to see another Deepwater Horizon disaster ruin their oceanfront property, counts as drilling on federal land.
The Trump government will probably ignore the importance of the role that federal land leases play in contributing to climate change. Last week, the US federal government UU He tried to bury a report on the serious effects that climate change will have on the economy and the health of the nation.
This newly published USGS report was requested by the Obama administration in January 2016. At that time, the federal government attempted to limit the extraction of fossil fuels on federal lands in several ways. The Hill notes that the Obama administration created a series of new national monuments to prevent drilling operations. The former president also stopped new coal leases on federal lands and instituted new rules to limit methane emissions on federal lands.
Along with the measurement of carbon dioxide emissions, the USGS report says fossil fuel extraction on federal lands contributes 7.3 percent of the nation's methane emissions and 1.5 percent of the nation's oxide emissions. nitrogen of the nation.
A weak side is that between 2005 and 2014, all federal public land emissions decreased slightly. For COtwo, that meant decreases of 6.1 percent; Methane registered a fall of 10.5 percent and nitrogen oxide of 20.3 percent. The emissions that come from the public use of the land are closely related to the trends in the fossil fuel industry, so the lower emissions could be due to a fossil fuel economy.
The USGS report also quantified how much federal land is sequestered of carbon dioxide. That is, plants and soil can store some CO.two, and protecting federal lands means protecting ecosystems that contain a certain amount of COtwo in warehouse.
The USGS report notes that federally owned ecosystems such as forests, grasslands and thickets sequestered an average of 195 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year between 2005 and 2014, "offsetting approximately 15 percent of the COtwo "The emissions resulting from the extraction of fossil fuels in federal lands and their combustion of end use".
The difference between what is being issued due to the use of federal land and the sequestration of federal land can help future administrations of the federal government to make energy and lease decisions. For now, the public lands of the United States are emitting much more COtwo of what they can kidnap, and it is unlikely that the current administration's enthusiasm for leasing public lands will change much.
Listing image by the North Dakota Department of Health