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The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions seeks to inform the design and implementation of federal policies that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from its extensive peer-reviewed published works, in-house policy analyses, and tracking of current legislative proposals, the Center provides research, analysis, and recommendations to policymakers in Congress and the Executive Branch. Read More
 

Q&A on EPA's GHG Reporting Rule

What is the GHG Reporting Rule?

As part of the Fiscal Year 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law on December 26, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was ordered to publish a rule requiring public reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources. The GHG Reporting Program database, published for the first time on January 11, 2012, and consisting of data reported under the rule, provides the first comprehensive nationwide GHG emissions data for the United States, although electric power plants have been reporting their carbon dioxide emissions for two decades under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

One model for the GHG Reporting rule is the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), established by the 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, which, for the first time, required businesses to disclose releases of a wide range of toxic chemicals. When the TRI was first published in 1989, many businesses voluntarily began reducing their releases, clean technology developers used the data to identify potential customers, and policymakers used the data to develop and refine toxic chemical policy. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) expects similar activity as a result of the establishment of the GHG Reporting Program.

Who are the covered entities?

Forty-one sectors are included for possible reporting including: fossil fuel and industrial GHG suppliers, boilers, motor vehicle and engine manufacturers, and other industrial facilities. Annual reporting is required for facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2 equivalent per year, except for sources in nineteen large source categories such as: refineries, cement manufactures, and chemical plants for which there is no minimum threshold. An estimated 85 to 90 percent of stationary source emissions from approximately 13,000 facilities are covered by the rule, while most small businesses would fall below the reporting threshold.

What is the status of regulation?

The first rulemaking following the Congressional mandate came on September 22, 2009, when EPA announced that it will require large emitters of GHGs to begin collecting data under a new reporting system. Data collection through online reporting began in January 2010 with the first annual reports submitted to EPA in 2011.

On January 11, 2012, EPA announced that the first year of data, 2010, is publicly available. EPA's online tool has data from 6,700 facilities from 29 source categories, searchable by state, location, company, or facility. Additional facilities will be included in future years.

A main feature of the site is an interactive map with facilities marked by location. Searching and sorting of facilities can be accomplished through 20 different reporting categories, by the amount of emissions of any of six GHGs. Each reporting facility has a profile with: location and address; NAICS code; GHG monitoring technology; GHG emissions amounts; emissions by source, fuel and process; and other information. Emissions data across sectors and locations is comparable in a variety of visual formats, like bar charts, pie charts, and data trees. Search results can be shared via printing, email, Facebook, Twitter and other ways.

 

Read more from EPA on the GHG Reporting Rule.

See C2ES President Eileen Claussen's statement on the release of reported data.

Eileen Claussen Comments on EPA's Release of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Data

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

January 11, 2012

We’ve seen before that what you measure, you can manage. Two decades ago, when EPA published the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), the public, policymakers and business all got a better handle on toxic emissions across the U.S. and how to reduce them. We can expect similar results now that EPA is publishing greenhouse gas data from major emitters. Businesses shrinking their carbon footprints will have a metric credible with the public. Clean technology developers will know who and where their potential customers are. Policymakers will know better how to develop policies that reduce emissions while contributing to economic growth. Simply getting this data out is an important step in tackling climate change.

Click here for more on EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.

Click here for a related blog post.

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

Extreme Weather in 2011

For the second year in a row, unprecedented numbers of extreme weather events have occurred across the globe. However, more of 2011’s impacts occurred in the United States. From the drought in Texas to the floods in the Midwest and Northeast, this past year underscored the huge economic costs associated with extreme weather.  While specific weather events are not solely caused by climate change, the risks of droughts, floods, extreme precipitation events, and heat waves are already climbing as a result of climate change. This year reminded us of our vulnerability to those events.

Eileen Claussen Comments on Utility MACT Rule

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

December 21, 2011

Today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency of final standards for reducing mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants is an important step in protecting public health.  A very long time in coming, these regulations trace back to the 1990 Clean Air Act and were first proposed by the George W. Bush Administration.  Like most measures to protect the environment, this rule has costs – estimated at nearly $10 billion a year.  But these investments will pay important dividends by reducing health costs by $37-90 billion in 2016 alone.  EPA has taken steps to allow time to install new controls and to ensure energy reliability, but implementation will have to be carefully monitored to ensure that any bottlenecks are addressed in a timely manner.  

In addition to the health benefits, the new standards may yield significant climate benefits if power companies meet them by replacing old, inefficient plants with cleaner technologies.  This is more likely if EPA moves forward with carbon dioxide emission standards for power plants, and if Congress continues to fund R&D and deployment for renewable energy, nuclear power, and technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-fired power plants.

Click here for a Utility MACT summary.

Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146

December 2011 Newsletter

Click here to view our December 2011 newsletter.

C2ES's December 2011 features updates from the 17th annual Conference of the Parties (COP17) in Durban, South Africa, policy options for a clean energy standard, a blog post on the landmark new fuel economy standards, and more.

Low-Carbon Innovation for a Strong Defense

As discussed in the first part of this blog series A Strong Defense for Low-Carbon Innovation, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has both the demand for and procurement capabilities to advance the development and deployment of innovative low-carbon technologies. This post highlights a variety of leading businesses innovating and creating new opportunities in response to the U.S. Department of Defense efforts, and some of the challenges businesses encounter along the way.

Strategic public-private partnerships are key to helping the DOD meet its energy goals and present significant low-carbon business opportunities. Employing the expertise of companies, such as those specializing in electricity generation or computer technology, gives the DOD access to specialty skills and knowledge needed to advance innovative low-carbon technologies. Businesses, in turn, have the potential to enhance their competencies through government-funded research and development, or provide new technologies for commercial markets after large-scale demonstration through the DOD.

The Nuts and Bolts of the New CAFE and GHG Vehicle Standards

This is Part 2 of a series on the new EPA-DOT vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel economy standards. Part 1 took a first look on the goals of the standards.

These days, most cars can go from 0 to 60 mph in a pretty short time – but can the nation’s car fleet go from 27.3 to 49.5 mpg in 15 years flat?

As we mentioned in Part I, a 49.5 mpg CAFE standard (or 54.5 mpg by the EPA’s calculation) is the new vehicle standard for 2025. Considering that the current CAFE level is 27.3 mpg, closing the 20 mpg gap will need some pretty quick acceleration, efficiency-wise.

Though the new standard may seem daunting, the key takeaway is that passenger vehicles will use many technologies we already know about and still deliver the freedom of mobility and convenience found in today’s cars. In fact, most of the fleet will still be powered by diesel and gasoline but with under-the-hood technological improvements that improve the bang for each buck of gas.

A Strong Defense for Low-Carbon Innovation

This post is the first of a two-part series on low-carbon innovation in the defense industry. It looks at how the DOD is uniquely positioned to drive low-carbon innovation. The second part in the blog series looks at how businesses are working with the DOD to bring low-carbon solutions to market.

From GPS to the Internet, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has a history of driving the creation of innovative technologies now used every day by Americans. With low-carbon policies a major challenge in Washington today, many clean energy advocates are seeking leadership from the DOD, which is the single largest consumer of energy in the country, to help drive clean energy solutions. Motivated by the need to better protect troops and support its operations, the DOD is becoming more involved in low-carbon technology research, development, and deployment. As stated in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), this work will shape the future commercial potential of energy technologies, as “military installations [serve] as a test bed to demonstrate and create a market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”

Drowning and Drought: Extreme Weather Impacts on our Economy and Society

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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This Capitol Hill lunch briefing with leading experts will examine extreme weather hazards, with a case study on the Texas drought, their relationship to changes in our climate, and how the country can better prepare for such events.

Friday, December 2, 2011
12:30 -2:00 pm
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building

2011 has been a record year for weather disasters. From historic drought in Texas to record-breaking flooding in North Dakota, to an unprecedented number (> 5600) of record high temperatures across the United States, much of the country has seen severe damage from extreme weather. The year is not yet over, and economic losses already exceed $45 billion.

This lunch briefing with leading experts examines extreme weather hazards, with a case study on the Texas drought, their relationship to changes in our climate, and how the country can better prepare for such events. Speakers at this lunch briefing include:

  • Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University; Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation
  • John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist and Regents Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas A&M University
  • Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America

Moderated by Jay Gulledge, Senior Scientist and Director for Science and Impacts, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

 

Sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).

AAAS logoAGU logoC2ES logo

 

Landmark New Vehicle Standards Set a Strong Path to the Future

This post is the first of a two-part series on the new joint EPA-NHTSA vehicle standards. It will give an overview of the new standards. The second part dives deeper into details on how the new standards will be met.

As the Pew Center for Global Climate Change has transformed into the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), the transportation sector is undergoing some major transformations itself.

The eagerly anticipated model years 2017-2025 vehicle standards for greenhouse gases and fuel economy have been officially proposed and inked into the best of formal Federal prose – an extensively detailed 893-page behemoth of a report to be exact. The new vehicle standards would nearly double the efficiency of the nation’s passenger vehicle fleet. And based on its contents, these proposed standards appear to be a tremendous victory for most, creating benefits for the economy, national security, public health, vehicle buyers, and the global climate.

It’s been a long time coming. Together with last year’s rulemakings on 2012-2016 light duty standards and 2014-2018 heavy duty standards, vehicle standards haven’t seen an overhaul of this magnitude since, well, the creation of such standards in the 1970s.

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