EPA Proposes First National Reporting on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed the first national system for reporting emissions of greenhouse gases produced by major sources in the United States.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that efforts to confront global warming must be guided by the best possible information. This new reporting system will allow our leaders to compile comprehensive and accurate data about domestic emissions.

This system is a critical piece of the puzzle, but enacting comprehensive climate and energy legislation this year is necessary to ultimately give meaning to this new emissions reporting system. The first annual report will be expected in 2011, for the 2010 calendar year.

The new reporting requirements would apply to suppliers of fossil fuel and industrial chemicals, manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines, and large direct emitters with emissions equal to or greater than 25,000 metric tons per year. This threshold is roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from about 4,500 passenger vehicles.

The vast majority of small businesses would not be required to report their emissions because their emissions fall below this threshold.

Lauding the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas reporting rule, the investment coalition Ceres renewed its call on the Securities and Exchange Commission to require publicly-traded companies to fully disclose their financial risks and opportunities from climate change.

Ceres is a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies to address global climate change.

Published: March 19, 2009