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  • Allison Stalker

2011 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data Released

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final rule for mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting. Under this rule, 40 CFR Part 98, certain facilities are required to report their greenhouse gas emissions on an annual basis. More information on this rule and who it affects was posted in a previous blog post, found here.

Last week, the EPA released the second year of data gained from this reporting. One of the main goals of this reporting was to make emissions data available to the public. Greenhouse gases are the primary cause for climate change, which can lead to threats on the health of the public including increased ozone pollution and long heat waves.

“Transparency ensures a better informed public, which leads to a better protected environment,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “With this second data release, communities, businesses and others can track and compare facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions and identify opportunities to cut pollution, minimize wasted energy, and save money.”

The new data is for emissions in 2011 collected from facilities in 41 source categories. If a facility falls into one of the named source categories, they must generate 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide in order to be required to submit a report. The 2011 data consists of 12 additional source categories that were not a part of the 2010 data, including petroleum and natural gas systems and coal mines.

It should come as no surprise that the largest source of GHG emissions is power plants. This remained consistent from 2010 to 2011 with power plant emissions making up one-third of the total U.S. emissions. The total GHG emissions from power plants have gone down by 4.6% from 2010. This could be due to both increased regulation and increased use of alternative energy sources.

Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest emitter in 2011 and refineries were the third largest. Overall emissions have gone down by 3% in 2011; however this is only for 29 source categories. The new 12 categories were not included because data from 2010 was not collected.

While this information will be definitely be used to compare emissions and trends between facilities and industry sectors, it will also hopefully be used to determine which sectors require increased regulation to reduce emissions. Additionally, alternative methods could be developed for those industries with increasing emission levels in order to decrease these levels.

The GHG publication tool (FLIGHT) and a summary of the 2011 data can be found here.



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