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Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) - Assessment and Treatment Alternatives

CTU = Conservation Treatment Unit
NCPS = National Conservation Practice Standard

GHGs - Greenhouse gases are a very important part of the Earth’s environment, keeping our atmosphere about 33oC warmer than it would be otherwise. An array of gases, dominated by water vapor, serves to preserve the greenhouse-like atmosphere and warmth associated with life on Earth. Other GHGs in descending order of magnitude in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane gas (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3) and chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs). GHGs are formed by natural and anthropogenic processes. A build up of excessive levels of GHGs can cause the atmosphere to aggressively trap the sun’s energy and warm to undesirable levels. Potential impacts of a warmer atmosphere are changes in climate and other environmental conditions. Anthropogenic sources of GHGs are burning fossil fuels, deforestation, livestock production, cement production, and manufacturing facilities (a primary source of CFCs).

Are GHGs (CH4, N2O, CO2, CFCs) regulated?

Yes or No. This question deals with the current regulatory status of GHGs.

No. At this time GHGs are not regulated in Montana; but to be proactive, consider the recommendation of practices/management techniques that will offset or reduce generation of methane gas (CH4) such as:

  • Anaerobic digesters for electricity generation (NCPS Number 366)
  • Solid/liquid waste separation (NCPS Number 632)
  • Install Waste Facility Cover (NCPS Number 367) and flare off gas
  • Feed management (NCPS Number 592)
  • Poultry litter amendments
  • Increase carbon sequestration in organic matter and soil
  • Reduce frequency and intensity of tillage operations (NCPS Numbers 329, 344, 345 and 346)
  • Increased utilization of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.).

 Consider practices/management techniques that will offset or reduce generation of N20 such as:

  • Commercial fertilizer formulation and application method (NCPS Number 590)
  • Soil quality management
  • Slurry injection
  • Chemigation/Fertigation technology.

Consider practices/techniques that will offset or reduce generation of CO2 such as:

  • Reduced tillage (NCPS Numbers 329, 344, 345 and 346)
  • Combined operations to reduce equipment passes
  • Increased use of renewable energy sources
  • Reduce or eliminate open burning
  • Carbon sequestration practices to offset CO2 emissions.

Are plant and animal health and productivity and/or human comfort adversely affected by excessive or reduced air circulation?

Yes or No. If yes, consider practices that either reduce or improve air circulation as required:

  • Construction of living and/or artificial windbreaks, herbaceous wind barriers and/pr hedgegrow plantings (NCPS Numbers 380, 386, 561, 589, and 603) will alter existing air flow patterns thereby serving to increase or decrease air flow direction, volume and duration as desired and to reduce cooling and heating costs
  • Use of fans and air dams
  • Improved building siting and design to improve air flow characteristics.