This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 27, 2002

EPA Releases Draft Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gases

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in early February its draft inventory of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks. The report finds that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased 2.5 percent in 2000, to a level that is 14.1 percent greater than 1990 emissions. The EPA attributes the increase to robust economic growth, cooler winter conditions, and a decreased output from hydroelectric dams. The report, prepared to meet the U.S. commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is open to public comment until mid-March. See the EPA report.

In news that may or may not be related, depending on your outlook, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced last week that average global temperatures in January made it the warmest month on record. And here in the contiguous United States, the three-month period from November 2001 through January 2002 was also the warmest on record. See the NOAA press release.

Even warmer global temperatures are expected by this summer, as a continuing warming trend in the tropical Pacific waters signaled the likely development of El Nino conditions within the next three months, according to researchers at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. See the NOAA press release.

Meanwhile, new research from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) suggests that El Nino events may be getting stronger due to global warming. CSIRO researchers say they have evidence that warm water in the oceans at high latitudes is being carried to the eastern equatorial Pacific by deep ocean currents. The researchers matched the observation to a global climate model, suggesting that global warming may have caused the shift in ocean currents. See the CSIRO press release.