How do cities calculate their green house gas emissions?



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    The process for calculating emissions of greenhouse gases is just like calculating emissions of any other pollutant – you need an emission factor and activity data. Emission factors (e.g., grams per mile) can be found from various sources, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Activity information is obtained from measurements, observations, or other sources. For vehicles, activity might be represented in the number of miles driven, and for electricity use at home, it may be Kwh. Once you know the emission factor (e.g., 200 grams/mile) and the activity (e.g., 100 miles), the greenhouse gas emissions can be easily obtained by multiplying the two numbers together (i.e., 200 x 100 = 20,000 grams). It is important to not that each of the emissions that are calculated is specific to a pollutant (e.g., CO2, CH4, etc.). Once the mass emissions for each pollutant is known, they are converted to common units so that they can be compared and summed.

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