- The White House announced on Nov. 29 a national system to measure, monitor and share information related to greenhouse gas emissions, aimed at accelerating efforts to reduce the country’s carbon footprint and helping it reach its net-zero goal by 2050.
- The National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System will be an interagency effort based on a set of national objectives to help integrate efforts by federal government agencies and non-federal entities, including city, state and tribal governments, NGOs and the private sector.
- The strategy includes improving activity-based and atmospheric-based emissions quantification and estimates; making data on greenhouse gas emissions more accessible and interoperable; and supporting the development of science-based standards to ensure consistent and accurate emissions measurements.
The national framework arrived a day before the COP28 climate summit, which President Joe Biden will not be attending — a decision that has been met with criticism, given that climate change is a cornerstone of the president’s policy agenda and his approaching reelection bid. The White House announced Nov. 29 that Vice President Kamala Harris would attend the summit instead.
The national greenhouse emissions strategy will be spearheaded by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, among other departments and agencies.
The goal of the framework is to enhance coordination and efficiency, and allow for more comprehensive and timely data collection to support climate action by combining existing measurement, monitoring and data capabilities, currently scattered across these entities, into a streamlined resource.
“By better coordinating our Federal efforts and by working effectively with non-Federal partners, this Strategy will support the effective use of Federal resources, reduce duplication, and provide information to address one of the greatest fiscal risks we face today — the climate crisis,” Nani Coloretti, deputy director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, said in a press release.
The strategy will follow a phased approach: The first phase consists of federal agencies identifying and increasing coordination of existing, mature emissions observations, measurement, modeling and analysis that, with targeted efforts, could significantly improve information on greenhouse gas emissions in the future. According to the strategy, these efforts will combine “the collective assets and expertise of the federal government, while making more efficient use of taxpayer funds and effectively leveraging non-U.S. government efforts.”
The second phase of the strategy seeks to build on objectives laid out in the first. This would ideally include a robust greenhouse gas accounting system that addresses data needs in a more comprehensive manner, allowing for a more fleshed out national coordination structure. Such coordination, according to the strategy outline, will lead toward interoperability between U.S. and global observing systems.
The strategy comes shortly after the publication of the Fifth National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive analysis of the state of climate change in the U.S., compiled by federal agencies and due every five years. The assessment warned that global warming is not decreasing fast enough in the U.S., despite declines in emissions from their peak in 2007 and energy-efficient innovations to move to zero- and low-carbon electricity and fuels. It also found current emissions reductions are not sufficient to meet national and international climate commitment goals.