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January 13, 2012
EPA Launches Database of High Emitters
    by Robert Kropp

2010 greenhouse gas emissions data reveals that power plants were the largest stationary sources of direct emissions, with 96 of them among the 100 facilities reporting the highest levels of emissions.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week that it has launched an online data publication tool that includes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data from facilities is nine high-emitting industry sectors.

In 2009, EPA established the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which requires the reporting of GHG emissions data by high-emitting sources and suppliers in the US. The information compiled in the new database includes emissions from more than 6,700 facilities accounting for 80% of emissions in the US in 2010. An additional 13 source categories are required to report emissions in 2011.

In 2010, facilities emitting more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (mmtCO2e) were required to report.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the nation's emissions increased by 213 million metric tons, or 3.9%, in 2010, the largest increase since 1988. EPA's database, which is searchable by facility, location, industrial sector, and the type of GHG emitted, "provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost- and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment," Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, said.

While McCarthy did not refer specifically to investors, they too will benefit from accessing the database in their efforts to pressure high-emitting companies into addressing the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

The database reveals that the burning of fossil fuels accounted for 80% of the nation's total emissions in 2010. Power plants were by far the largest stationary sources of direct emissions, according to the database, with 2,324 million mmtCO2e. Of the 100 facilities reporting emissions of over 7 mmtCO2e, 96 were power plants.

Although the two highest-emitting facilities were both located in Georgia, the state with the highest level of emissions was Texas, with 294 mmtCO2e. Pennsylvania followed with 129 mmtCO2e.


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