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Consumption-Based Emissions Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the Northeast

NEWMOA and the Northeast Recycling Council’s (NERC) joint Climate and Materials Workgroup involves state environmental agency officials from 11 Northeast states, who are interested in the connection between consumption and climate impacts. In March 2021, the group initiated plans to develop a regional a consumption-based emissions inventory (CBEI).

EPA Region 1 (New England office) was able to secure funding for the Workgroup to work with EPA Regions 1 and 2 and EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) on a regional initiative to assess GHG emissions resulting from consumption in targeted states in the region. EPA’s US Environmentally-Extended Input-Output (USEEIO) model is a family of models designed to bridge the gap between traditional economic calculations, sustainability, and environmental decision-making. It provides a robust resource for estimating the potential environmental and economic impacts associated with the production or consumption of goods and services. USEEIO melds data on economic transactions among 389 industry sectors with a wealth of environmental information, including data on land, water, energy and mineral use, air pollution, nutrients, and toxics. It is widely used by EPA program offices and other government agencies, corporations, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, and academia for such applications as calculating carbon footprints and environmental assessments.

A CBEI can complement traditional state territorial GHG emissions inventories by showing the extraterritorial impacts that the state has through consumption of materials, goods, and services. Identification of consumption-based hotspots followed by mitigation strategies targeting changes in product sourcing or consumption patterns can help to further reduce a state’s GHG footprint.

An EPA-led modeling team is using a state-specific version of the USEEIO model along with the traditional territorial and state GHG data to prepare a CBEI for the participating states in the northeast. NEWMOA/NERC’s joint Workgroup oversees this initiative. The Workgroup plans to use the results to:

  • Develop a regional understanding of EPA’s USEEIO, CBEIs, the required data, how the model works, and the value and uncertainties in the results
  • Improve its understanding of the impacts of consumption-related GHGs associated with the participating states and region-wide
  • Enhance its climate action, targeting the most important consumption-related GHG emissions in the region
  • Improve its messaging around consumption-related GHG emissions to enhance public education and outreach

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