Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

One of the most effective tools to understand a community’s impact towards global warming is a greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) inventory. This process includes taking an inventory of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), or greenhouse gas emissions, over a given period of time. Keene completed such an inventory in 2000, using 1995 as a baseline year and set two separate targets: 1) 10% reduction below 1995 levels for the community as a whole and, 2) 20% reduction for municipal emissions.

An update to the 2000 GHG inventory is currently under way and needs to be completed. Once the inventory update is completed, it will be amended to this plan to assist in identifying new reduction targets as well as future actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for both community and municipal emissions. Preliminary analysis from the update process indicates that the largest portion of community emissions is derived from transportation, followed by buildings, which is consistent with the 2000 inventory’s conclusions. At this point, one observation can be made – the community must begin to make substantial changes to its transportation, land use and energy policies in order to effectively reduce overall community emissions in order to meet the reduction targets outlined in the 2004 Climate Action Plan.

In 1995, Keene community emissions totaled 204,529 tons of CO2e. By 2015, without taking any action, the community’s emissions were predicted to increase by 26% to 257,716 tons of CO2e. In order for the community to reach its 10% reduction goal, the community would have to reduce its emissions by 70,860 tons in order to reach the 2015 target level of 184,076 tons of CO2e. As the community moves forward with its climate program and the GHG inventory update, progress should be measured and new reduction targets established that align with the State’s reduction targets.

In 2009, Governor Lynch’s Climate Change Policy Task Force recommended that New Hampshire strive to achieve a long-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 has been adopted by numerous states, cities and organizations. This goal is based on the reductions that climate scientists believe to be necessary to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at or below 450 parts per million CO2. It has been projected that stabilizing the concentrations of greenhouse gases at this level will avoid the most severe and catastrophic potential impacts of climate change.