EPA releases first GHG emissions data reporting results

By Kris Bevill | January 12, 2012

Calling it a “major milestone” in the agency’s work to address climate change, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy announced on Jan. 11 the release of the 2010 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reports submitted to the EPA by more than 6,700 various stationary sources in the U.S.

The emissions information is being made publicly available through a new publication tool so that data can be used by communities to identify sources of GHG emissions, by industries to compare their emissions to others, by states to gain information on emissions released within their borders and by investors to make knowledgeable decisions, McCarthy said. Data results will also be used to guide policy decisions and assist in the EPA’s development of future emissions reduction programs. “Thanks to strong collaboration and feedback from industry, states and other organizations, today we have a transparent, powerful data resource available to the public,” she said. “We are very proud of the accuracy of this first year of reporting. This is a huge achievement.”

The EPA’s GHG Reporting Program was launched in 2009. The program required the nation’s largest stationary source emitters, those releasing 25,000 tons or more per year of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), as well as suppliers of products that would emit that amount of GHGs if released or combusted, to submit emissions data for the year 2010. Applicable industrial sources for 2010 were grouped into nine categories and included power plants, landfills, petroleum refineries and ethanol plants, among others.

Power plants were found to be the largest stationary source of direct emissions, producing a combined total of more than 2,300 million metric tons of CO2e from 1,555 facilities in 2010. Petroleum refineries were the second largest source of GHG emissions in 2010. The category included the smallest number of reporting facilities, however, accounting for 183 million metric tons of CO2e from just 145 facilities. Affected ethanol producers were included in the “other industrial” category, which emitted a total of 159 million metric tons of CO2e from 1,770 facilities in 2010.

The EPA is expanding its 2011 reporting requirements to include 12 new industry groups, including underground coal mines, industrial wastewater treatment and geologic sequestration of CO2. The EPA will open its electronic reporting system, known as e-GGRT, in February for required participants to begin filing their 2011 emissions reports.