Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Published as Chapter 3 in Chittaranjan Ray, Sekhar Muddu, & Sudhirendar Sharma, editors, Food, Energy, and Water Nexus: A Consideration for the 21st Century. Springer, 2022, pp. 33-66.



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Mitigation of climate change requires the systematic identification and cataloging of emissions sources at city, state, and national levels. In this study, an inventory of annual greenhouse gas emissions from the state of Nebraska was created based on industry data, and emissions inventories were completed each year from 1990 to 2016. Nebraska’s net emissions were found to increase from 56.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMtCO2e) in 1990 to 87.4 MMtCO2e in 2016. Agriculture was found to be the sector with the most emissions (36 MMtCO2e) followed by electricity generation (21 MMtCO2e). In 2016, emissions from beef cattle made up 55% of agricultural emissions and 23.7% of net state emissions; if all beef were substituted with pork, net state emissions could be reduced by 17.9%. Coal for electricity had the largest increase in emissions from 1990 to 2016 (7.4 MMtCO2e) and made up 23.7% of the state’s net emissions in 2016. Net emissions per capita in Nebraska were found to be 46.2 metric tons CO2e per capita (MtCO2e) in 2015, which is more than double US average emissions at 18.4 MtCO2e, though potentially similar to those of other agricultural states when emissions from agriculture are included in state inventories.