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Enhancing Global Greenhouse Gas Quantification: Insights from USDA's New Emissions Methodologies Report

Enhancing Global Greenhouse Gas Quantification: Insights from USDA's New Emissions Methodologies Report   

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released an updated report - "Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-Scale Inventory."  

This report presents a standardized approach to estimating greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes at an entity level, focused on the U.S. context. Recognizing the widespread relevance of these methodologies, the USDA is hosting a series of webinars to dive deeper into the report’s findings and discuss their applications.  

These methodologies are not only critical for U.S. stakeholders but also hold value for the international agricultural, ranching, and forestry communities. By participating in these webinars, global stakeholders can gain insights into advanced GHG estimation techniques being applied in the United States for potential adaptation to local contexts across borders.  

Webinar Series  

Click Here for more details about each session. 


Managed Forest Systems 

Thursday, May 30 

1:00 – 2:00pm ET 

Register Here 


Cropland and Grazing Land Systems 

Monday, June 3 

1:00 – 2:00pm ET 

Register Here 


Animal Production Systems 

Tuesday, June 11 

1:00 – 2:00pm ET 

Register Here  


More Information about The Methods Report and Its Applicability

The updated USDA Inventory Report furnishes a comprehensive toolkit for stakeholders to assess U.S. GHG emissions from agricultural and forestry activities. Offering varied methodologies suited to different levels of complexity and data availability, this balanced approach yields valuable insights applicable to a diversity of agricultural methods. The report spans emission metrics for croplands/grazing lands, managed wetlands, animal production systems, forestry, and changes in land use. 

"These methods are designed to provide a scientific basis for methods that can be used by landowners and managers, USDA, and other stakeholders to estimate changes in GHG emissions and removals at the local entity scale."  

As part of the revision process, the authors incorporated updated sources reflecting current science, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2019 Refinement to the Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. Recommended approaches are based on the data and methods available to the user, and range across multiple tiers of complexity and accuracy. 

Most updates to these technical guidelines were added to provide more accurate estimates to the inventory methods for management practices that now have an adequate body of research to support their GHG benefits.  

Other updates include: 

  • Revising the methods where appropriate to reflect the state of the science, improving the accuracy of farm-scale GHG flux estimates 

  • Reducing ambiguity in how users select a given method 

  • Improving the usability of the report by reorganizing the chapters to make the methods easier to access 


Enhanced Tools 

The methods report serves as the foundation for COMET-Farm, a field-scale tool developed by USDA and Colorado State University that provides detailed estimates of the emissions and sequestration impacts from different management scenarios on U.S. farms. The tool uses the reports’ recommended high-fidelity modeling, comparable to IPCC Tier 2 or Tier 3 methods, which are complex and data-intensive and yield the most accurate estimates of any established inventory methods. The improved accuracy translated to this tool helps farmers gain a deeper understanding of their emissions accounting at the entity level. 

The international version of this tool, COMET-Planner Global, currently uses IPCC Tier 1 methodologies, giving international users a broad estimate of the impact of certain conservation practices on GHG reductions in their regions. 

Event Date Start-End

May 30, 2024 / 01:00 PM - June 11, 2024 / 02:00 PM