I’m very excited about a brand new website that will let me – and all Americans – learn about sources of climate pollution in my community and across America.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled the website today. The consumer-friendly web platform has new greenhouse gas emissions data that will help Americans work together to develop innovative ways to reduce climate pollution.
The public availability of this data means that Americans now, for the first time, have access to accurate information about the heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted by large industrial sources in their communities.
For a decade and a half now, since 1995, fossil-fuel fired power plants over 25 megawatts have reported their carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act. Those reports have created a rigorous database of emissions data for the nation's single largest source sector.
Under the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December of 2007 (H.R. 2764; Public Law 110–161), other large emitters of carbon pollution started reporting their emissions too.
Now, that long-awaited data is finally available. The new EPA’s website has climate pollution data for about 6,700 industrial facilities, based on 2010 annual pollution discharges.
The facilities include:
- Power Plants
- Cement Plants
- Iron and Steel Producers
- Metals Manufacturing
- Mineral Production
- Petroleum Refineries
- Pulp and Paper Manufacturing
- Chemicals Manufacturing
- Government and Commercial Facilities
- And Other Industrial Facilities
These are sources that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or more per year. Those levels are comparable to the emissions from 131 rail cars of coal consumed, or 58,000 barrels of oil consumed. Collectively, they’re responsible for billions of tons of climate-disrupting pollution.
Churches, cattle, and other small sources of emissions do not have to report their emissions.
The website includes data on emissions of the following climate-disrupting pollutants:
- carbon dioxide
- nitrous oxide
- sulfur hexafluoride
- other fluorinated gasess
The website lets you search for, and sort, emissions information by geographic area and industry sector. You can compare emissions among facilities. You can also share information using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
Americans have a right to know about the pollution in their air. All this information will help us make historic progress towards that goal.
The new data promotes transparency and provides a strong foundation for Americans to work together in deploying smart climate. It also will strengthen corporate governance and sustainability by providing rigorous, facility-based pollution data that tracks pollution levels for comparison with other facilities. And, it will provide investors with transparent information, helping to drive investment decisions informed by the companies and facilities that are leading the way in reducing climate pollution and those that are lagging behind.
But all of us at EDF are especially happy to have the new interactive website – it’s a great tool for fighting climate change.