WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its third year of greenhouse gas (GHG) data detailing carbon pollution emissions and trends broken down by industrial sector, greenhouse gas, geographic region, and individual facility.
The data, which is required to be collected each year by Congress, highlights a decrease in emissions as more utilities switch to natural gas, which burns cleaner.
“The EPA is supporting President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by providing the high-quality data necessary to help guide commonsense solutions to address climate change,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “Putting this data in the hands of the public increases transparency, supports accountability, and unlocks innovation.”
EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects annual greenhouse gas information from more than 8,000 power plants, oil and gas production and refineries, iron and steel mills, landfills, and other gas-emitting facilities.
Additionally, the program is receiving data on the increasing production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used mostly in refrigeration and air conditioning.
The data for 2012 shows that, in two years since reporting began, emissions from power plants have decreased 10 percent. The decrease in emissions is due to a switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation, in addition to a slight decrease in electricity production.
Fossil fuel-fired power plants remain the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. With just under 1,600 facilities emitting over 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, these plants account for roughly 40 percent of total U.S. carbon pollution.
Publication date: 12/16/2013