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Not just tailpipes and smokestacks

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More than 100 world leaders are in New York today talking about climate change at the United Nations. A new report from the US Environmental Protection Agency says a big chunk of greenhouse gas emissions can be pinned on how we use land and resources. Tamara Keith reports.

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Transcript: Tamara Keith, September 22, 2009

More than 100 world leaders are in New York today talking about climate change at The United Nations. A new report from the U-S Environmental Protection agency says a big chunk of greenhouse gas emissions can be pinned on how we use land and resources. Tamara Keith has more:

Some EPA scientists say greenhouse gas emissions are not just about tailpipes and smokestacks. They say you have to look at the big picture.

42% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US are related to everything that goes into creating the food and products we use, and then throw away. So, they say more reduce, reuse and recycle. And, a lot of emissions are caused by urban sprawl. We have to drive everywhere.

Brigit Lowery is with the EPA. She says there are ways to reduce those emissions too.

"Encouraging compact development, such as promoting smart growth. But also reducing development pressures on green space, such as redeveloping formerly contaminated properties."

Lowery said she knew going into it that land use and resource management contributed to climate change. But she was surprised by how much.

For The Environment Report, I'm Tamara Keith.

Copyright 2009. The Regents of the University Of Michigan. Used with permission.

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