GHG Tools and Resources

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Disclaimer: The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) provides this non-exhaustive compilation of greenhouse gas (GHG) estimating tools and related resources available on government and university or college websites solely for information and convenience. Reference on this website to any specific tool, its developers, or links to non-CEQ sites does not constitute or imply CEQ's endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, data, or products provided at those links. CEQ does not control or guarantee the accuracy, legality, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of the information contained on a linked website or referenced tool. Moreover, CEQ does not require Federal agencies to use or rely on any tool, methodology, or report identified in this compilation.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to analyze and consider the environmental effects of proposed major Federal actions prior to making decisions. Climate change is a fundamental environmental issue, and its effects fall squarely within NEPA's purview. Estimating GHG emissions or the reduction in emissions is a key element in considering the relationship between a proposed action and climate change. The following list of GHG tools and resources may be helpful in estimating GHG emissions or reductions and in preparing related analyses.

GHG Estimating Tools

Annual Energy Management Data Report

This Excel workbook is the reporting instrument to use for comprehensive reporting of energy and water use, costs, square footage, and associated greenhouse gas data. This document is to be used by top-tier federal departments and agencies for reporting aggregated data for the fiscal year. This Annual Energy Management Data Report workbook provides users with the performance results for key energy/sustainability goals as well as a summation of calculated Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

  • Specific use: reporting Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2020

This inventory (published in 2022) was developed to meet annual U.S. commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). GHG emissions and removals are organized by source and sink categories and are calculated using internationally accepted methods specified in the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and, where appropriate, its supplements and refinements. Additionally, the calculated annual emissions and removals are presented in a common manner consistent with the UNFCCC reporting guidelines. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data Explorer is an interactive tool that provides access to the inventory data.

  • Specific use: identifying GHG emission and removal trends in energy, industrial processes, agriculture, waste and land use sectors.

Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

This tool converts emissions (CO2, CO2e, CH4, N2O, HFCs, CF4, and SF6) or energy (gallons of gasoline, kilowatt-hours of electricity, therms of natural gas, or number of passenger vehicles) data into annual GHG emissions from a variety of sources. These equivalency results are displayed as annual GHG emissions from passenger vehicles; tons of waste sent to a landfill; gallons of gasoline consumed; pounds of coal burned; wind turbines installed; home energy use for one year; barrels of oil consumed; and other metrics. This tool also displays the equivalent amount of carbon that is sequestered by tree seedlings grown for ten years; acres of U.S. forests in one year; or acres of U.S. forests preserved from conversion to cropland in one year. This calculator may be useful for communicating GHG reduction strategy, reduction targets, or other initiatives aimed at reducing GHG emissions. Note that estimates are approximate and intended for communication purposes, not for emission inventories, formal carbon footprints, or formal emissions analysis.

  • Specific use: converting energy metrics to GHG emissions, analyzing emissions data for comparison of alternatives.

EPA's Climate Change Indicators

EPA's Climate Change Indicators compiles a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change. These are not specific GHG estimating tools, but rather provide information on the state of the affected environment from a climate change perspective. These indicators also provide important input to the National Climate Assessment and other efforts to understand and track the science and impacts of climate change.

  • Specific use: identifying climate impacts, and adaptation and resilience considerations.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guidelines

The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2006 IPCC Guidelines) provide methodologies for estimating national inventories of anthropogenic GHG emissions by sources and removals by sinks. Volume 1 describes the basic steps in inventory development and offers general guidance on estimating GHG emissions and removals. Volumes 2 to 5 offer guidance on estimates for energy; industrial processes and product use; agriculture, forestry, and other land use; and waste. IPCC issued the 2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (2019 Refinement) to provide an updated and sound scientific basis for supporting the preparation and continuous improvement of GHG inventories. It should be used in conjunction with the 2006 IPCC Guidelines and, where indicated, with the 2013 Wetlands Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines.

  • Specific use: providing methodologies and guidance.

SPECIATE

SPECIATE is EPA's repository of organic gas and particulate matter (PM) speciation profiles of air pollution sources. These emission source profiles can be used to create speciated emission inventories for regional haze, PM, GHGs, and photochemical air quality modeling, among other uses.

  • Specific use: creating emissions inventories for industrial activities.

Facility Level Information on Greenhouse Gases Tool (FLIGHT)

FLIGHT provides GHG data reported to EPA by large emitters, facilities that inject CO2 underground, and suppliers of products that result in GHG emissions when used in the United States. FLIGHT data is searchable by facility name or location, and can be filtered by state or county, fuel type, industry sectors and sub-sectors, annual facility emission thresholds, and GHG type.

  • Specific use: providing data on emissions from powerplants, oil and natural gas systems, refineries, chemicals, and waste activities.

Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-Scale Inventory

This USDA Technical Bulletin (published in 2014) reviews techniques for estimating GHG emissions and removals from agricultural and forestry activities and estimating GHG emissions at the farm or forest scale. The methods presented address GHG emissions and carbon sequestration for the entire entity or operation and also provide the opportunity to assess individual practices or management decisions. The report includes Biomass Carbon Stock Changes (Section 3.5.1), Methane Uptake by Soils (Section 3.5.5), Non-CO2 Emissions from Biomass Burning (Section 3.5.8), Biomass Carbon in Wetlands (Section 4.3.1), and Forest Carbon (Section 6.2.1).

  • Specific use: estimating GHG emissions and removals from agricultural and forestry activities and estimating GHG emissions at the farm or forest scale.

COMET-Farm

COMET-Farm assesses the cumulative impacts of crop and grazing land and livestock production practices on soil carbon and emissions of CO2, CH4, and N2O. Producers enter information about their land and management - including location, land uses, tillage practices, and nutrient management – into the online tool. The tool uses information on soils and weather, and producers' descriptions of their farm and ranch management practices, including alternative future management scenarios, to generate a report that compares carbon changes and GHG emissions under current management practices and future scenarios.

  • Specific use: estimating GHG emissions for cropland, pasture, rangeland, livestock operations; successor of COMET-VR, newest version incorporates NO2 emissions, agroforestry, and orchards and vineyards.

Agriculture and Land Use National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (ALU) Software

The ALU software, developed by Colorado State University and based on methods in the IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidelines, guides an inventory compiler through the process of estimating GHG emissions and removals related to agricultural and forestry activities. It simplifies the process of conducting the inventory by dividing the inventory analysis into steps to compile data.

  • Specific use: establishing a baseline and projecting emissions for management alternatives.

Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS)

The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) is a family of forest growth simulation models that can simulate a wide range of silvicultural treatments for most major forest tree species, forest types, and stand conditions. "Suppose" is the name of the graphical user interface for FVS. FVS is useful from a stand to a landscape level. The Fire & Fuels Extension (or FFE) includes down deadwood and forest floor biomass information and can be used to model how carbon stocks change over time and according to succession, disturbances, and management.

  • Specific use: analyzing down deadwood and forest floor biomass, silvicultural treatments to various forest tree species and forest types.

Fuel and Fire Tools (FFT)

FFT is a software application that integrates several fire management tools, including the Fuel Characteristics Classification System, Consume, Fire Emission Production Simulator (FEPS), Pile Calculator, and Digital Photo Series, into a single user interface. The Fuel Characteristic Classification System stores and classifies fuels data into fuelbeds and predicts outputs including carbon stores for different fuelbeds, carbon flux from fire, and carbon emissions.

  • Specific use: modeling wildland fire emissions.

Emissions Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID)

EPA's eGRID provides comprehensive environmental data on almost all electric power generated in the U.S. eGRID is typically used for GHG registries and inventories, carbon footprints, consumer information disclosure, emission inventories and standards, power market changes, and avoided emissions estimates.

  • Specific use: providing data on carbon intensity of electricity generation.

Grid Project Impact Quantification (GridPIQ)

GridPIQ, a tool developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, estimates the impacts of smart grid technology deployments (conservation voltage reduction, energy storage, photovoltaics, smart vehicle charging, virtual battery, and custom projects) on electric load profile and emissions (e.g., SO2, NOx, and CO2), among others. GridPIQ allows users to choose one or more technology types to approximate the impact of adding a new project to an existing system based on the resulting changes in load shape.

  • Specific use: estimating smart grid impacts.Specific use: modeling wildland fire emissions.

OPGEE: The Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator

OPGEE is an engineering-based life cycle assessment tool for GHG emissions from the production, processing, and transport of crude petroleum. The system boundary of OPGEE extends from initial exploration to the refinery entrance gate.

  • Specific use: generating an upstream GHG inventory for crude oil extraction and production.

MarketSIM

GridPIQ, a tool developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, estimates the impacts of smart grid technology deployments (conservation voltage reduction, energy storage, photovoltaics, smart vehicle charging, virtual battery, and custom projects) on electric load profile and emissions (e.g., SO2, NOx, and CO2), among others. GridPIQ allows users to choose one or more technology types to approximate the impact of adding a new project to an existing system based on the resulting changes in load shape.

  • Specific use: substitution analysis of offshore oil and gas.

Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Perspective on Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas from the United States: 2019 Update

This report analyzes, using a life cycle GHG perspective, how LNG exported from the U.S. compares with regional coal (or other LNG sources) for electric power generation in European and Asian markets, compared to natural gas from Russia delivered via pipeline to these markets.

  • Specific use: analyzing life-cycle GHG emissions from LNG exports.

Life Cycle Analysis of Natural Gas Extraction and Power Generation

This analysis provides a complete inventory of emissions to air and water, water consumption, and land use change from supply chain steps from natural gas production through natural gas distribution onshore and offshore, and an associated gas scenario. The results, including a national average based on a production-weighted aggregation of the onshore, offshore, and associated gas scenarios, serves as a primary data source used by the BLM to estimate GHG emissions from natural gas lease sales and are as a source for 2020 BLM Specialist Report on Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Trends (above).

  • Specific use: analyzing life-cycle GHG emissions from natural gas.Specific use: estimating emissions from coal, oil, and gas development and production on federal onshore lands.

2020 BLM Specialist Report on Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Trends

This report estimates GHG emissions from current and projected development and production of coal (8 states) and oil and gas (24 states) on federal onshore lands for the projects' first 12 months of operation and cumulatively over the life of the projects. The report summarizes climate change trends and impacts attributable to the cumulative global GHG burden.

  • Specific use: estimating emissions from coal, oil, and gas development and production on federal onshore lands.

AVoided Emissions and GeneRation Tool (AVERT)

EPA's AVERT tool analyzes emission impacts of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs in the electric power sector. For the 48 contiguous states, AVERT can be applied to analyses such as quantifying emissions benefits (PM2.5, NOX, SO2, CO2, VOCs, and NH3) of state and multistate programs; comparing the emissions impacts of different programs, such as wind versus solar installations; and understanding emissions impacts of high electric demand days. The AVERT tool is available as an Excel-based tool and a web version. It is best applied at the regional or state level and is not recommended for estimating the change in emissions under small local programs or for individual development projects. Note that this tool does not include emission reductions that typically occur upstream of the utility sector (e.g., reductions in natural gas use at a facility could also reduce methane emissions from pipeline and oil and gas operations). Note also that AVERT assumes that changes in electricity consumption resulting from an action will reflect the average generation mix and emissions intensity in the power market region where the action occurs.

  • Specific use: quantifying benefits of state energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs.

Facility Level Information on Greenhouse Gases Tool (FLIGHT)

FLIGHT provides GHG data reported to EPA by large emitters, facilities that inject CO2 underground, and suppliers of products that result in GHG emissions when used in the United States. FLIGHT data is searchable by facility name or location, and can be filtered by state or county, fuel type, industry sectors and sub-sectors, annual facility emission thresholds, and GHG type.

  • Specific use: providing data on emissions from powerplants, oil and natural gas systems, refineries, chemicals, and waste activities.

SPECIATE

SPECIATE is EPA's repository of organic gas and particulate matter (PM) speciation profiles of air pollution sources. These emission source profiles can be used to create speciated emission inventories for regional haze, PM, GHGs, and photochemical air quality modeling, among other uses.

  • Specific use: creating emissions inventories for industrial activities.

California Emissions Estimator Model (CalEEMod)

CalEEMod is a land use emissions model for quantifying potential criteria pollutant and GHG emissions associated with construction and operations of land use projects in California. The model quantifies direct emissions from construction and operation activities (including vehicle use), as well as indirect emissions, such as GHG emissions from energy use, solid waste disposal, and vegetation planting. Default data (such as emission factors, meteorology, source inventory) have been provided by various California Air Districts to account for local requirements and conditions.

  • Specific use: quantifying direct and indirect emissions from construction and operation activities.

GREET

GREET offers two modeling platform options: a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel and an interactive interface using a .net platform. GREET enables users to fully evaluate life-cycle energy and emission impacts related to transportation (road, air, rail, and marine) and other sectors. GREET can evaluate a wide range of conventional and emerging energy systems and technologies (e.g., more than 80 vehicle technology options). It includes the fuel cycle from wells to wheels and the vehicle cycle through material recovery and vehicle disposal. It allows researchers and analysts to evaluate various vehicle and fuel combinations on a full fuel-cycle/vehicle-cycle basis.

  • Specific use: evaluating life-cycle energy and emission impacts of transportation alternatives.Specific use: quantifying direct and indirect emissions from construction and operation activities.

Motor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES3)

EPA's MOtor Vehicle Emission Simulator (MOVES) is an emission modeling system that estimates emissions for mobile sources at the national, county, and project level for criteria air pollutants, greenhouse gases, and air toxics. MOVES includes on-road vehicles (cars, trucks, buses) and non-road equipment (bulldozers, lawnmowers) but does not cover aircraft, locomotives, or commercial marine vessels. MOVES models "fleet average" emissions, rather than emissions from individual vehicles or equipment types. The system is capable of modeling through 2060.

  • Specific use: estimating on-road motor vehicle emissions (upstream project emissions).

Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT)

AEDT is a software system that dynamically models aircraft performance in space and time to produce fuel burn, emissions and noise. Full flight gate-to-gate analyses are possible for study sizes ranging from a single flight at an airport to scenarios at the regional, national, and global levels.

  • Specific use: estimating aircraft-related fuel burn, noise, and emissions.

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidance: Direct Emissions from Mobile Combustion Sources

This 2016 EPA document provides guidance for calculating scope 1 direct GHG emissions resulting from the operation of owned or leased mobile sources within an organization's inventory boundary. This guidance applies to all sectors whose operations include owned or leased mobile sources.

  • Specific use: guidance for calculating scope 1 GHG emissions from mobile sources.

Smart Location Calculator

This calculator shows the effects of workplace location on worker commuting, using indicators such as GHG emissions, mode-share, vehicle miles traveled, and workplace accessibility via transit. Its results include an index that compares the efficiency of alternative locations within a region. The index output values are relative to region and should not be compared across regions.

  • Specific use: identifying emissions and other impacts of worker commuting.

Transportation Climate Change Sensitivity Matrix

The Sensitivity Matrix Tool documents the sensitivity of transportation modes and sub-modes to 11 climate impacts: storm surge, wind, sea level rise/extreme high tides/coastal flooding, inland flooding, drought, increased temperatures and extreme heat, wildfires, dust storms, permafrost thaw, changes in freeze/thaw, and winter storms. Users may select a specific mode (e.g., bridges) and explore its sensitivity to a range of impacts, or they may select a specific impact (e.g., wind) and explore the sensitivity of different modes to that impact.

  • Specific use: reviewing sensitivity of transportation projects to climate impacts.

Infrastructure Carbon Estimator (ICE)

ICE, a spreadsheet tool that estimates GHG emissions from the construction and maintenance of transportation facilities, evaluates impacts associated with roadway projects, including roadway materials, operation of construction equipment, roadway maintenance, and (with user input) changes in tailpipe emissions associated with construction delay and changes in tailpipe emissions resulting from improved pavement smoothness. It can be used to determine the total emissions impact of maintaining a current transportation system, whether there are alternative plans that would result in fewer construction emissions, and the emissions payback period for a transportation construction project intended to reduce operational emissions.

  • Specific use: estimating emissions impacts of roadway construction and maintenance.

LCA Pave Tool

LCA Pave is a spreadsheet tool developed by FHWA that can be used to assess environmental impacts of pavement material and design decisions when sufficient local data is available.

  • Specific use: estimating life-cycle emissions impacts from pavement materials.

Transit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator

The Transit GHG Emissions Estimator allows users to estimate the partial lifecycle GHG emissions generated from the construction, operation, and maintenance phases of a project across select transit modes such as rail, bus, vanpool, and car. (Its projections are not as precise as those from complex emissions models or route-specific ridership estimates.)

  • Specific use: estimating transit-related emissions.

Transit Bus Electrification Tool

The Transit Bus Electrification Tool allows users to estimate the partial lifecycle greenhouse gas emission savings associated with replacing standard bus fleets with low-emission or zero-emission transit buses.

  • Specific use: estimating transit-related emissions.

EMission FACtors 2021 (EMFAC2021)

The EMFAC2021 model, developed by the California Air Resources Board, calculates emission inventories over time for all motor vehicles, including passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks, operating on highways, freeways, and local roads in California. EMFAC models GHG emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, among other pollutants.

  • Specific use: assessing population, activity, and emissions from mobile sources in California.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Compliance and Effects Model (CAFE Model)

Developed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, the CAFE Model calculates GHG emissions from passenger car and light truck fuel combustion (tailpipe emissions) as well as upstream emissions from the production and distribution of fuel.

  • Specific use: calculating fuel- and vehicle-related emissions associated with the establishment or modification of CAFE standards.

Waste Reduction Model (WARM)

WARM is a tool that calculates and totals the GHG emissions, energy savings, and economic impacts of baseline and alternative waste management practices, including source reduction, recycling, combustion, composting, anaerobic digestion, and landfilling. The model calculates emissions, energy units, and economic factors across a wide range of material types commonly found in municipal solid waste. WARM is available as a downloadable spreadsheet and as a web tool based on a database developed in the Open Life Cycle Assessment (openLCA) modeling suite.

  • Specific use: estimating emissions of waste management practices.

Landfill Gas Emissions Model (LandGEM), Version 3.03

LandGEM is an automated Microsoft Excel estimation tool that can be used to estimate emissions rates for total landfill gas, methane, carbon dioxide, nonmethane organic compounds, and individual air pollutants from municipal solid waste landfills. LandGEM can use either site-specific data or default parameters to estimate emissions.

  • Specific use: estimating emissions and air pollutants from landfills.

Other GHG/Climate Change Websites

The following federal websites provide additional information that may be beneficial in analyzing GHG emissions and climate change in NEPA reviews.

Sustainability.gov

This website provides guidance documents to support agencies in implementing sustainability policies and programs. It includes Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions and Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance.

Climate.gov

This website (hosted by NOAA) offers more than 200 digital tools to identify vulnerabilities, view past and current conditions, visualize climate projections, and more. Part of the website, https://toolkit.climate.gov/, provides information on building climate resilience into the built environment, coasts, ecosystems, energy, food, health, oceans, transportation, tribal nations, and water decisions. At https://toolkit.climate.gov/tools, listings can be filtered by topic, function, phase of resilience planning, and region.

Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases

The social cost of greenhouse gas (SC-GHG) is not a specific technical tool, but rather refers to estimates of the social costs associated with the impacts from emitting an additional metric ton of a given GHG. Applying the SC-GHG to an action's potential emissions allows agencies to understand the social impact of these emissions, and conversely the social benefits of mitigating or avoiding such emissions, in the policy making process. For more information, see the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, Technical Support Document: Social Cost of Carbon, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide (February 2021).

USDA Climate Change Resource Center

This website provides around 45 links to tools for incorporating climate change and carbon stewardship into land management decision-making, including calculators to maps, data sources, and models covering a variety of scales and geographical regions.

USDA National Agriculture Library (Climate Change)

This website provides information on the impacts of climate change on aspects of water resources, fish and wildlife, wetlands, and integrated pest management.

US Army Corps of Engineers (Responses to Climate Change)

This website provides information on the impacts of climate change on aspects of water resources, fish and wildlife, wetlands, and integrated pest management.

DOE (Climate Change and the U.S. Energy Sector)

This website provides information on regional energy sector vulnerabilities and resilience solutions.

U.S. Geological Survey (Climate Change Impacts)

This website provides information on climate impacts on carbon sequestration, permafrost, polar regions, and sea-level change, vegetation change, wetlands and wildland fire.

National Park Service (Cultural Resources Impacts)

This website provides information on the impacts of specific aspects of climate change (e.g., temperature, precipitation, sea-level rise, and combined stressors) on categories of cultural resources (archeology, cultural landscapes, ethnographic resources, museum collections, and historic buildings and structures.

EPA (Climate Change)

In a list of impact topics under "Climate Connections," this website provides information on climate impacts involving energy and the environment, state and local energy programs, transportation, waste, water, indoor air quality, adaption, and tribal resources.

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