4 The record articles

GHG Reporting Rule Data Now Available to the Public

Posted: January 31st, 2012

Author: All4 Staff 

On January 11, 2012 U.S. EPA released to the public its greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program data publication tool.  The web-based data publication tool provides access to 2010 GHG emission inventory data reported last year for the first time by over 6,700 facilities.  The reported data is presented from what U.S. EPA categorizes as the largest emitters of GHG, which represent facilities that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year.  The facility-level 2010 GHG emission data, available at http://ghgdata.epa.gov/ghgp/main.do, is searchable in a variety of ways, including by:

  • Geographic region, state, and local community.
  • Facility and industry type.
  • Fuel type and GHG gas emitted.
  • Individual facility name.

On a conference call to demonstrate the database, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy noted that the available data represents approximately 80% of the total GHGs emitted in 2010, and after the next round of reporting that begins next month when some new industry sectors will report for the first time, the database should reflect 85% or more of the country’s total annual GHG emissions.  McCarthy also expressed U.S. EPA’s hope that the availability of this data will be a catalyst for GHG emission reductions, suggesting that the public, businesses, and even the investment community could use it to make comparisons and decisions that will encourage voluntary GHG reductions that will be in addition to any that result from coming U.S. EPA rules.

The website provides the user the ability to publicly distribute the data views that are generated over social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.  There is also the ability to download the data in a spreadsheet that will allow users to sort, analyze, and manipulate it on their own.  Several reporters allowed to ask questions during the introductory conference call were anxious to learn how the data could be used to identify facilities that are in violation of allowable emission limits.  Since there are currently no annual GHG tonnage limits in U.S. EPA rules or permits, the database will not provide an opportunity for such an evaluation, unless comparable limits expressed in CO2e are promulgated in rules and written into permits.


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