The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly-released and expanded database on greenhouse gas emissionswill be crucial for America’s efforts to reduce the pollution that’s linked to climate change, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
For the second year in row, the data shows that coal-fired power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in America. And, for the first time, methane data was released for some major sources such as oil and gas.
“This new data will provide Americans with important information about the climate-disrupting pollution that’s being emitted by large industrial sources in our communities,” said EDF’s Peter Zalzal. “This vital new information is a call to action for America to work together in deploying innovative solutions to address the carbon pollution from power plants and methane from oil and gas development activities.”
EPA unveiled the 2011 data on America’s largest industrial emitters today, through its user-friendly website. Collectively, the database tracks the sources of billions of tons of climate disrupting pollution.
EPA’s database is part of a program signed into law by President Bush in 2007. This year’s data covers more than 8,000 industrial sources that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or more per year. (Churches, homes, cattle, and other small sources are not covered under the program.)
For the first time this year, EPA’s database includes information on methane emissions from large sources like the oil and natural gas sector. Methane is a “climate accelerant” – a potent greenhouse gas that has an intensified impact on the climate. Today’s new data will provide insights into methane emissions industry-wide, which can help policymakers, as well as oil and gas operators, identify cost-effective opportunities to reduce pollution and prevent the waste of a valuable domestic energy source.
EPA’s website allows all Americans to search and sort emissions information by geographic area and industry sector, to compare emissions among facilities, and to share the information using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. That means Americans can find out the biggest pollution sources near their hometowns. It also means that companies, policymakers and investors can compare pollution levels at similar facilities – which can identify the companies that are leading the way in pollution reductions, and the effective strategies they’re using.
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