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Studies Find Methane Emissions in California and U.S. 1.5 Times Greater Than Expected

Current official inventories of methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas released from landfills, livestock ranches and oil and gas facilities, may be underestimated both nationally and in California by a factor of about 1.5, according to new research from Berkeley Lab and others.

New Ideas Needed to Meet California’s 2050 Greenhouse Gas Targets: Berkeley Lab Study

California is on track to meet its state-mandated targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, but it will not be able to meet its 2050 target without bold new technologies and policies. This is the conclusion of the California Greenhouse Gas Inventory Spreadsheet (GHGIS), a new model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to look at how far existing policies and technologies can get us in emissions reductions.

New Research Will Help Shed Light on Role of Amazon Forests in Global Carbon Cycle

Berkeley Lab scientist Jeffrey Chambers in the Amazon forest instrumenting the upper canopy from a 30-meter tower with micro-meteorological sensors. (Photos courtesy Jeffrey Chambers)

Scientist Jeffrey Chambers and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have devised an analytical method that combines satellite images, simulation modeling and painstaking fieldwork to help researchers detect forest mortality patterns and trends. This new tool will enhance understanding of the role of forests in carbon sequestration and the impact of climate change on such disturbances.

Berkeley Lab Research Team Maximizes Impact of New Energy Technologies

Berkeley Lab's Energy Technology Assessment Team uses energy and environmental analysis techniques to estimate potential impacts of early-stage technologies.

What if we could assess technologies for hidden environmental dangers before they hit the marketplace? And even better, what if the technology’s positive impacts could be maximized and negative ones minimized before the technology is even deployed, as part of the development process? The Emerging Technology Assessment (ETA) Team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is working to do just that, using energy and environmental analysis techniques to estimate potential impacts of early-stage technologies.

More Potent than Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide Levels in California May be Nearly Three Times Higher Than Previously Thought

map of nitrous oxide emissions in California

Using a new method for estimating greenhouse gases that combines atmospheric measurements with model predictions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have found that the level of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in California may be 2.5 to 3 times greater than the current inventory. At that level, total N2O emissions—which are believed to come primarily from nitrogen fertilizers used in agricultural production—would account for about 8 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions.