Excerpts from the Summary Report
I. Introduction to the Report
This annual report on statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions provides a summary of emissions for the years 1990-2019 and includes information on the relative contribution of each gas and emission source specified in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.2 This includes all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from each sector of the economy for each year.
In producing this report, DEC used the guidelines provided by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Taskforce on National Inventories, referred to here as the “IPCC guidelines” (IPCC 2006, 2019). The IPCC guidelines are intended for use by national parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and represent a rigorous set of procedures for producing a full assessment of anthropogenic emission sources within a jurisdiction. The U.S. national greenhouse gas inventory applies these guidelines and is the primary model used for this state report (EPA 2021a).
The emission information provided in this report is intended to provide information in a way that is useful to the public and to policymakers. This includes summaries by gas, by IPCC sectors, and by the economic sectors used in the New York State Climate Action Council Draft Scoping Plan. DEC welcomes feedback on additional ways to present this information in future reports. DEC also intends to make the emission estimates available on Open Data NY so that users can produce their own summaries.
Fluorinated or High GWP Gases
In addition to the naturally occurring greenhouse gases above, certain human-made compounds also contribute to climate change. Following IPCC guidelines, the following types of gases should be included in greenhouse gas accounting. These gases all contain fluorine and are emitted at a lower rate globally than the other well-mixed greenhouse gases but have much higher global warming potentials.
are a group of different compounds primarily manufactured as replacements for ozone-depleting substances in a variety of end-uses such as refrigeration and foam blowing. The growth of HFCs corresponds to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which called for the phase down in the production and trade of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances. Use of HFCs had therefore just begun around 1990, the UNFCCC’s baseline year for reporting GHG emissions. Over the past thirty years, HFC use grew to replace the ozone-depleting substances and to meet an accelerated, global demand for refrigeration equipment. For this reason, HFC emissions started very close to zero in 1990 but have continued to grow exponentially through today. For example, HFC-134a was introduced early in the 1990’s, reached an atmospheric abundance of 57.5 ppt by 2010, and doubled to 107.6 ppt by 2019 (IPCC 2021, Annex III). Some, but not all, HFCs are relatively short-lived; estimated atmospheric lifetimes are 14.0 +/- 2.8 years for HFC-134a, 5.4 +/- 1.1 years for rapidly increasing HFC-32, and 228 years for the high-GWP HFC-23 (IPCC 2021; Hodnebrog et al. 2020).
are a group of compounds used in refrigerants, electronics manufacturing, and aluminum smelting that are chemically stable and long-lived in the atmosphere. For example, PFC-14 (perfluoromethane or CF4) has an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 50,000 years. The atmospheric abundance of PFCs has risen steadily since the 1970s, though not at the accelerating rate seen among HFCs. Certain PFCs like CF4 also have natural sources that contribute significantly to their atmospheric abundance (IPCC 2021).
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)
is a synthetic fluorinated compound that is the most potent greenhouse gas currently known, with a GWP20 of 17,500 (Table 2). It is also an extremely stable, long-lived molecule, with an atmospheric lifetime estimated to be 1,000 years (IPCC 2021). It therefore has a cumulative impact on climate, like CO2 and N2O, and a relatively small amount of SF6 can have a significant long-term impact. The atmospheric SF6 abundance was estimated to be 10.0 ppt in 2019, up from 7.0 ppt in 2011 (IPCC 2021). SF6 has been used in a variety of applications, including electronics manufacturing and in medical applications. Electric utilities rely on SF6 in electric power systems for voltage electrical insulation, current interruption, and arc quenching in the transmission and distribution of electricity.
Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)
is emitted during electronics manufacturing. Its atmospheric abundance is still low but steadily increasing, rising from 0.7 ppt in 2010 to 2.1 ppt in 2019 (IPCC 2021, Annex III). Its high GWP (Table ES1.2) is second only to that of SF6, and its long atmospheric lifetime of 569 years (Hodnebrog et al. 2020) means that today’s NF3 emissions will have a long-lasting impact on climate.
The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act directs DEC to issue an annual report on statewide greenhouse gas emissions, pursuant to Section 75-0105 of the Environmental Conservation Law. This current report covers the years 1990 through 2019. The emission information will also be made available for download from Open Data NY (leaves DEC website).
The 2021 report includes the results of analyses that are described in more detail in the following supplemental reports.
NYSERDA (2021) ERG Technical Documentation: Estimating Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (PDF)
NYSERDA (2021) Update to the Oil and Gas Methane Inventory (leaves DEC website)
NYSERDA (2021) Hydrofluorocarbon Emissions Inventory (leaves DEC website)
*Information online at https://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/99223.html