GHG Emissions

Empowering the Public through Greater Information

By Gina McCarthy

EPA recently marked a major milestone in our work to empower the public through greater transparency and information. Last month we released the first set of greenhouse gas (GHG) data from large facilities and suppliers across the country collected by our GHG Reporting program.

To make it easy to view the 2010 GHG data collected from more than 6,700 U.S. facilities and suppliers, EPA launched an online data publication tool. The interactive tool allows users to view and sort the data in a variety of ways, including by location, facility, or industrial sector. I encourage you to explore the tool and share your findings with friends using your favorite social media tools.

Judging by the response to the tool’s launch on Facebook, Twitter, and online, folks are already finding the tool helpful— the site has received over 1,000 Facebook “likes” and attracted more than 100,000 web visitors since its launch.

Our idea behind this tool is simple: it’s about increasing public participation in environmental protection. EPA knows that better information leads to a better informed public resulting in better environmental protection.

Communities can use this data to identify nearby sources of GHG pollution. Businesses can use this data to find cost- and fuel-saving opportunities. States and local government can use this data to inform policymaking. The financial sector can use this data to make more-informed investment decisions.

People are already analyzing and presenting the data in meaningful ways, including from state and local perspectives. Media outlets like The Chicago Tribune and Salt Lake Tribune have used the data to inform readers about GHG emissions from facilities in their community.

We will welcome your thoughts on how to improve the tool and look forward to the second year of data which will allow all of us to start tracking emissions trends.

About the author: Gina McCarthy is the Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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EPA's Second Quarter Results

About the author: Marcus Peacock is EPA’s Deputy Administrator.

EPA’s Quarterly Management Report (QMR) for the second quarter of FY 2008 is now available at http://www.epa.gov/ocfo/qmr. A comparison of mid-year data for FY 2008 versus FY 2007 indicates mixed results and that, overall, EPA is currently performing at about the same level as we did last year. We are clearly improving in some areas. For instance, the SmartWay program has more than doubled the amount of greenhouse gas emissions avoided (700,000 metric tons in 2008 vs. 300,000 tons in 2007, see graph). It also reveals areas where we may be challenged. For instance, there has been a dip in the number of significant water discharge permits issued in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (61 in 2008 vs. 150 in 2007). That’s important because fewer revised permits means pollution limits may not be getting tightened as quickly as last year. We need to find out if this is a problem (perhaps someone from the Chesapeake Bay Program wants to comment on this). I encourage you to look up, question, and use the measures, if any, that reflect what is going on in your area.

line graph: SmartWay Program GHG Emissinos Avoided (MMTCE) 2007: Q1, .1; Q2, .3; Q3, .5; Q4, 1.4. 2008: Q1, .4; Q2, .7

EPA is still the only federal agency which issues quarterly performance results to the public. While everyone at EPA should have a good idea of how we are doing, I think we are obligated to show the public how we are performing on a regular basis.

The QMR itself continues to improve. This report came out two weeks earlier than prior quarters. There is also now a Web-based version providing more contextual information and some ‘drilling down.’ The Web-based version, which we will continue to improve, can be found at http://iaspub.epa.gov/qmrpub/qmr_rpts.qmr_reports.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.