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Long commutes account for high amount of Adk. greenhouse gases, report says

WARRENSBURG -- Commuting to jobs that are a long distance away is the largest factor in greenhouse gas emissions in the Adirondack Park, according to the recently-released Adirondack Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory report.

According to the study, Adirondack residents consume nearly 70 million gallons of gasoline annually to power their vehicles, and about 41 percent of greenhouse gases produced in the park stems from vehicle operation.

"This reflects both the rural character of the region, which typically involves the use of larger-than-average vehicles and travel between relatively dispersed communities," the report states.

Each year, the vehicles of Adirondack residents expel 883,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the study.

Residential buildings account for 32 percent of greenhouses gases emitted, commercial buildings account for 15 percent and industrial plants contribute 9 percent of the total.

Roughly 86 percent of all industrial greenhouse gases emitted come directly from the International Paper Company in Ticonderoga, the report states.

But the report is not all ecologically negative concerning Adirondack lifestyles.

Annually, Adirondack residents create significantly less carbon dioxide per capita than to the general U.S. population. The average local resident emits roughly 16 metric tons annually, compared to the 24 metric ton U.S. average.

"This likely results from the tendency of residents to have jobs outside of the park, have lower incomes and therefore less energy-intensive lifestyles and the lack of high emitting industrial emitters in the park," the report states.

Local forests sequester approximately 600,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases -- 28 percent of the total emitted locally on an annual basis.

The report states that the amount of Carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced in the park by increased residential efficiency. This would help not only the environment, but also the relatively economically challenged Adirondack population.

The Adirondack Energy and Greenhouse Gas Inventory was funded by the Adirondack Community Trust and the Master Family Fund. It was sponsored by the Wild Center Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake and climate change awareness organization ADKCAP.

It was conducted by Ecology and Environment Inc. with contributions from Dr. Colin Beier, a research ecologist at SUNY ESF.

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