EPA reports GHG emissions data for 2013

By Erin Voegele | October 07, 2014

The U.S. EPA has released updated data gathered through its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which details greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution trends and emissions broken down by several category types. Waste facilities, such as landfills and solid waste combustion facilities, are among those addressed by EPA. This is the fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data released by the EPA.

According to the EPA, the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is the only program that collects facility-level GHG data from major industrial sources across the U.S., 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, which are predominantly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

“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.”

Overall, EPA has report that GHG emissions levels from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher last year than in 2012. That is a 0.6 percent increase for 2013. More than 8,000 emitters reported GHG data for 2013. Power plants remain the largest source of emissions with 2.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) last year. Petroleum and natural gas systems emitted 224 million metric tons of CO2e. Refineries, chemicals and waste sectors emitted a respective 145 million metric tons of CO2e, 175 million metric tons of CO2e, and 114 million metric tons of CO2e. Metals facilities emitted 107 million metric tons of CO2e, with minerals emitting 111 million metric tons of CO2 and pulp and paper emitting 39 million metric tons of CO2e. Other reporting facilities emitted 137 million metric tons of CO2e.

Within the 1,611 reporting facilities in the waste sector, 1,200 are municipal landfills that emit a combined 93 million metric tons of CO2e. An additional 174 industrial landfills emitted 8.6 million metric tons of CO2e. According to the EPA, 155 wastewater treatment facilities also reported GHG emissions data last year, emitting a combined 2.5 million metric tons of CO2e. Solid waste combustion at 68 tracked facilities resulted in an additional 10 million metric tons of CO2e.

Additional information on the EPA’s GHG data, including emissions levels for individual power plants and landfills, can be accessed using the FLIGHT tool on the EPA website