Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

I just sent the following letter to Ben Blank, Climate Policy Section Manager at ECY. I think that we deserve to understand how a greenhouse gas emissions inventory registers the oil industry as zero for methane and does not show any measurement for nitrous oxide, which is twelve times more damaging than methane. When a response is received, I will share that.

Dear Mr. Blank,

I have been reviewing the report titled “Washington State Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory: 1990-2015” and have some questions and concerns.

On page 1, a reference is made to nitrous oxide as one of the greenhouse gasses we measure for impact to climate. Page 2 addresses the sectors in which greenhouse gas emissions are measured. Included in those sectors is the fossil fuel industry, with a footnote stating that the fossil fuel industry is monitored for contributing “greenhouse gas emissions known as fugitive emissions from leaking or venting in processing or distribution systems”. On page 4, the report addresses the Global Warming Potential Factors for Greenhouse Gases” and nitrous oxide is shown as being almost 12 times more harmful than methane.

The IPCC released a monumental report in October of 2018 stating that we have less than 12 years to “limit climate change catastrophe” and in that report, they reference the AR5 (Fifth Assessment Report) as being the latest knowledge base “concerning the science of climate change….”

Knowing that we have less than 12 years to disrupt the societal norms that are leading us to climate catastrophe, I find it highly concerning that on page 6, where the fossil fuel industry is inventoried for greenhouse gas emissions, the only measurement referenced is for methane, not for nitrous oxide. Furthermore, the values for the oil industry, all the way across the table, are zero.

If emissions from the fossil fuel industry are “greenhouse gas emissions …. from leaking or venting in processing or distribution systems” (page 2) and we have fossil fuel industries at the Port of Tacoma who are “venting” as fossil fuel processors and distributors, how can the values be zero for methane and why aren’t you measuring for nitrous oxide as well?  I look forward to hearing back from you. 

March 17, 2018

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