Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Adam J. Liska

Second Advisor

Michael J. Hayes

Date of this Version

Spring 4-24-2020

Document Type



Holley, E.R. (2020). Comprehensive and agricultural greenhouse gas emissions inventories for Nebraska and the Midwest as baselines for climate change mitigation (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. (UMI No. 27956658)


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Natural Resource Sciences Human Dimensions, Under the Supervision of Professors Adam Liska and Michael Hayes. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Eric R. Holley


Climate change is the paramount challenge of today for a sustainable future. Mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is necessary to reduce the associated risks and impacts on society. Using the EPA’s SIT and literature review, comprehensive GHG-emissions inventories were developed for the state of Nebraska over 25 years (1990-2015) and agricultural GHG emissions inventories were developed for the Midwest U.S for one year (2016). Nebraska’s net emissions increased from 56.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMtCO2e) in 1990 to 87.4 MMtCO2e in 2016. Agriculture was found to be the sector with the most emissions (36 MMtCO2e), primarily from beef cattle, followed by electricity generation (21 MMtCO2e), primarily from coal. Total emissions in Nebraska were found to be 47.4 MtCO2e per capita in 2015, compared to 20.6 in the U.S. due to concentrated agricultural emissions and low population. Total agricultural GHG emissions per state in the Midwest in 2016 were found to range from 10.3 MMtCO2e (Michigan) to 41.0 MMtCO2e (Iowa), with an average of 23.3 MMtCO2e. In 2016, Wisconsin was the least efficient state (0.86 MtCO2e/kg product) and Illinois was the most efficient (0.34 MtCO2e/kg product) in terms of emissions per product, which aligned with these states having the highest (71.5%) and lowest (21%) percentage of livestock out of total agriculture. Agricultural emissions per capita ranged from 1.0 MtCO2e (MI) to 26.2 MtCO2e (SD), driven by cattle and state population.

A review of literature was also conducted to explore the interactions between climate change and the insurance industry. Climatic events accounted for 91% of $1.05 trillion in insured costs for global catastrophic events from 1980 to 2016. Insurance feedbacks in response to disaster events caused by climate change include changes in 1) premiums and insurance policies, 2) non-coverage, and 3) policy making and litigation. Alongside a suite of strategies, including government policies, insurance feedbacks could be used to facilitate and manage climate change mitigation.

Advisors: Adam Liska and Michael Hayes