Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.
“Climate change, fueled by greenhouse gas pollution, is threatening our health, our economy, and our way of life—increasing our risks from intense extreme weather, air pollution, drought and disease,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA is supporting the President’s Climate Action Plan by providing high-quality greenhouse gas data to inform effective climate action.”
The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is the only program that collects facility-level greenhouse gas data from major industrial sources across the United States, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills and landfills. The program also collects data on the increasing production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Over 8,000 large-emitters reported direct greenhouse gas emissions to the program in 2013, representing approximately 50 percent of total U.S. emissions. The data from these facilities show that in 2013:
- Power plants remained the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with over 1,550 facilities emitting over 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, roughly 32 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. Power plant emissions have declined by 9.8 percent since 2010, but there was an uptick in emissions of 13 million metric tons in 2013 due to an increased use of coal. · Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest stationary source, reporting 224 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, a decrease of 1 percent from the previous year.
- Reported methane emissions from petroleum and natural gas systems sector have decreased by 12 percent since 2011, with the largest reductions coming from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells, which have decreased by 73 percent during that period. EPA expects to see further emission reductions as the agency’s 2012 standards for the oil and gas industry become fully implemented.
- Refineries were the third largest stationary source, reporting 177 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, up 1.6 percent from the previous year.
- Reported emissions from other large sources in the industrial and waste sectors increased by 7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution, up 1 percent from 2012.
Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, EPA is taking steps to address carbon pollution from the power and transportation sectors, and to improve energy efficiency in homes, businesses and factories. Under EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, carbon emissions from the power sector would decrease by 30 percent below 2005 levels and electricity bills would shrink by 8 percent by 2030. EPA’s pollution standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2012-2025 will save Americans more than $1.7 trillion at the pump. In addition, the agency’s partnerships with industry have prevented more than 365 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution, equal to the annual electricity use of more than 50 million homes.
EPA will be holding an information webinar today to demonstrate the greenhouse gas data publication tool, FLIGHT, highlight new features added this year, and provide a tutorial on common searches. FLIGHT allows users to view top emitters in a state or regions; see emissions data from a specific industry; track emissions trends by facility or region; and download maps, list and charts.