Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture account for 9.9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and come from livestock such as cows, agricultural soils and rice production, according to the latest update for the 2018 year. A new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data highlights agricultural emissions reductions and the importance of developing new research and technologies to capture more carbon in cropland and pastureland.
EPA tracks total U.S. emissions by publishing the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. This annual report estimates the total national greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with human activities across the United States. The report reveals that U.S. carbon sinks offset 12% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sequestered 764 million metric tons during 2018. The largest carbon sink involved U.S. forestry lands.
Emissions increased from 2017 to 2018 by 3.1% (after accounting for sequestration from the land sector). This increase was largely driven by an increase in emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which was a result of multiple factors, including more electricity use from greater heating and cooling needs due to a colder winter and hotter summer in 2018 in comparison to 2017.
In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture economic sector accounted for 9.9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture have increased by 10.1% since 1990. Drivers for this increase include a 7% increase in N2O from management of soils, along with a 58.7% growth in combined CH4 and N2O emissions from livestock manure management systems, reflecting the increased use of emission-intensive liquid systems over this time period.