You are here

Great Smokies Studying Emissions


    Rocky Mountain states are entering the winter season with scant snowfall. The Mid-Atlantic States recently have endured unseasonable warm weather. In Europe, fruit trees are blooming. In the great white north, new projections predict Arctic ice melting faster than previously expected.
    Climate change? Global warming? You choose the term you're most comfortable with, but it really doesn't matter. We're going through a change. How much responsibility can be heaped at the feet of humans is certainly debatable. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, though, officials are trying to determine how much their park might be contributing to the problem.
    By late next month Great Smoky officials expect to have in hand data that pinpoint how visitation to their park contributes to global warming. Specifically, the study is intended to quantify how motor vehicle traffic, electricity consumption, even campfires, contribute to global warming via greenhouse gas emissions.
    "As an environmental leader, it's very important to develop outreach both to the visitors as well as to our communities, municipalities and businesses outside the park," Nancy Gray says in a story
relayed by The Associated Press. "We need to understand ways of being better stewards and reducing greenhouse gases, because we can't do it alone."


Awwww, you GOTTA be kiddin' me.... Need to get off this global WHINING crap.... The earth has been WARMING since the last ice age!!...we most suredly have NOTHING to do with it...for pete's sake...LOL!! Now let's talk about something worth our time and uplifting!!


What's your problem SpecOPs, can't face reality ? Another ostrich with his head in the hole thinker! Like Bush! Just read Professor Hansens scientific work with NASA (at Amens) on global warming...pretty convincing stuff that's been highly documented and praised by world leading climatolgists as good valid research. Check his work on the NASA website. The stuff is there, just read it...and then make judgement.

There is a new report out by the U. N. panel on Climate Change. That report finds that livestock, mainly cows, are responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. That's more than all forms of transport, cars, trucks or snowmobiles combined. Rather than commissioning another study, the NPS could put this one into action. It could be in the forefront by eliminating meat and dairy from the parks. Or at least a little education in NPS stores and restaurants. "Before choosing that hamburger or that glass of milk consider that the U. N. has found cows to be the chief cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Please eat responsibly". (Only somewhat tongue in cheek).

Who would have imagined the leap from national parks to cow farts was so small! Kath is right concerning the UN report. You can find it at: Of course, not only do cows produce problems via their discharges, but also as land is cleared of trees to create more grazing areas. That process destroys valuable carbon sinks. Still, I think the NPS is right in its decision to try to quantify, at least in one park, how much Greenhouse Gas emissions its facilities and operations produce. Only by knowing the sources and the quantity can we work to minimize those outputs.

Couldn't they just take the U. N. report and similar reports that have come out from EPA in recent years and extrapolate to the park with a statistical analysis? No need to reinvent the wheel. The bigger issue as I tried to elucidate is: what does the park do? For example, the Yosemite fires of this summer were major pollutants in the area. But it's good for the forest to burn once in a while. Cows may be the major source of global warming on the planet, but if the NPS eliminated beef and dairy from the parks, I'd eat my hat. I guess I'd have to.

Kath, I don't think it's quite as easy as you make it out. Perhaps I'm wrong, but there would seem to be a wide variety of GHG sources to be considered, ranging from passenger cars, pickup trucks, delivery trucks, buses, late-model vehicles, older ones that pollute more. Also to be factored in, I would think, are traffic patterns. Then, too, there are electrical and natural gas consumptions that are unique to each park, campfires, forest fires, heat sinks, carbon sinks and on and on. And let's not forget sustainable development practices that can be implemented. What does a park do? In some cases it can replace its vehicle fleet with cleaner burning rigs. It can consider mass transit programs. It can look into solar and wind energy to supplement electrical demand. It can replace less energy efficient facilities. But without studying and quantifying exactly where the GHG generation is based, it's hard to come up with a logical and effective solution. Way back in 2001 the DOI and DOE announced the "Green Energy Parks" program, which was intended to showcase how parks can be made more energy efficient and with less of an impact on resources. You can read about it here: It's good to see the parks moving forward with this initiative.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide