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ORNL sows seeds with new agricultural carbon accounting tool
Date:6/2/2010

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 2, 2010 -- Carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural activity in the United States can now be tracked with unprecedented resolution because of a method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

A team led by Tristram West uses satellite remote sensing, computational resources and high-resolution national inventory datasets to pinpoint agricultural-based carbon emissions nationwide. The method, outlined in the journal Ecological Applications (http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/08-2352.1), provides a link between ground-based estimates and atmospheric measurements for any given agricultural point in the nation.

"This is a significant step toward compiling datasets and establishing a method useful for carbon accounting purposes," said West, a member of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division.

"Until now, we have done project-level reporting and national-level reporting as two independent exercises," West said. "The first was for carbon credits while the second was for international reporting to the United Nations."

West noted that, with the current system, emissions from economic sectors are reported nationally as required under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Project-level emissions are monitored on a case-by-case basis under independent projects or regional programs.

Doing both project- and national-level reporting in a consistent manner will become increasingly important as the U.S. and other countries move forward with climate agreements and legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to West.

"If the U.S. enters into national or international agreements on emissions reductions, a consistent framework for monitoring and reporting net carbon dioxide emissions from the project to national levels will prove more effective and provide more accurate and consistent reportin
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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