The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level.”
1 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that climate change is primarily the result of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, its effects will worsen over time in the absence of regulatory action, and the overall rate and magnitude of human‐induced climate change will likely increase, such that risks to public health and welfare will likewise grow over time so that future generations will be especially vulnerable; their vulnerability will include potentially catastrophic harms.
2 To respond to the risk associated with climate change, this document describes the link between climate change and the materials and land management programs carried out by EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER), and its federal, regional, state, tribal, community, and other public and private partners. The purpose of this document is two‐fold. First, in order to increase understanding of the link between materials and land management and GHG emissions, this document presents an estimate of the portion of U.S. GHG emissions associated with materials and land management practices. Second, it presents a set of materials and land management scenarios
referred to as total technical potential scenarios—as a first step to identifying areas of opportunity for EPA and its partners to reduce GHG emissions through materials and land management.
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