Greenhouse Gas Overview

GHG Bannerghg imageIn response to the FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2764; Public Law 110--161), EPA launched the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). The program requires annual reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) data and other relevant information from large direct emissions sources and suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases in the United States.

The purpose of the GHGRP is to provide accurate and timely GHG data to inform the public, policy makers and other interested parties. The data will help the public better understand emissions from specific industries, emissions from individual facilities, factors that influence greenhouse gas emission rates, and actions that facilities could take to reduce emissions. In general, facilities that directly emit 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or more per year are required to submit annual reports to EPA. In addition, suppliers of certain products that would result in GHG emissions if released, combusted or oxidized are required to report.

Data collection began in 2010 for most reporting entities. In 2011, an additional 12 GHG source categories began collecting data and reported to EPA for the first time in 2012. This program requires that certain sources monitor and report GHG information to EPA annually. It does not require control of greenhouse gases.

Envirofacts currently contains publicly available GHG data reported for all reporting years from the following industry types: Stationary Fuel Combustion (C), Electricity Generation (D), Aluminum Production (F), Ammonia Manufacturing (G), Cement Production (H), Electronics Manufacturing (I), Ferroalloy Production (K), Glass Production (N), Hydrogen Production (P), Iron and Steel Production (Q), Lead Production (R), Lime Manufacturing (S non-CEMS), Magnesium Production (T), Miscellaneous Uses of Carbonates (U), Nitric Acid Production (V), Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems (W), Petrochemical Production (X), Petroleum Refineries (Y), Phosphoric Acid Production (Z), Pulp and Paper Manufacturing (AA), Use of Electric Transmission and Distribution Equipment (DD), Titanium Dioxide Production (EE), Underground Coal Mines (FF), Zinc Production (GG), Municipal Solid Waste Landfills (HH), Industrial Wastewater Treatment (II), Suppliers of Natural Gas and Natural Gas Liquids (NN), Suppliers of Carbon Dioxide (PP), Manufacture of Electric Transmission and Distribution Equipment (SS), Industrial Waste Landfills (TT), and Injection of Carbon Dioxide (UU).

Envirofacts will be updated to add 2010 and 2011 GHG data from Suppliers of Petroleum Products (MM) in the coming months. GHG data from this industry is available for 2012 and 2013 through Envirofacts.

Data reported by facilities in the following industry types is not available through Envirofacts. To download data submitted by reporters in these industries, click here. Adipic Acid Production (E), HCFC-22 Production and HFC-23 Destruction (O), Lime Manufacturing (S - CEMS), Silicon Carbide Production (BB), Soda Ash Manufacturing (CC), and Suppliers of Coal-based Liquid Fuels (LL).

The Search and Customized Search can be used to locate information on the following greenhouse gases:

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring gas and is a by-product of burning fossil fuels and biomass, as well as land-use changes and other industrial processes. It is the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas that affects the Earth's radiative balance. It is the reference gas against which other greenhouse gases are measured and therefore has a Global Warming Potential of 1.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 310 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). Major sources of nitrous oxide include soil cultivation practices, especially the use of commercial and organic fertilizers, fossil fuel combustion, nitric acid production, and biomass burning.

Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon and a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 21. Methane is produced through anaerobic (without oxygen) decomposition of waste in landfills, animal digestion, decomposition of animal wastes, production and distribution of natural gas and petroleum, coal production, and incomplete fossil fuel combustion.

Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) is a man-made chemical composed of sulfur and fluorine with a global warming potential of 22,800. It is a colorless gas soluble in alcohol and ether, slightly soluble in water. Sulfur hexafluoride is a very powerful greenhouse gas used primarily in electrical transmission and distribution systems and as a dielectric in electronics.

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) are a type of greenhouse gas. PFCs are a group of man-made chemicals composed of carbon and fluorine only. These chemicals were introduced as alternatives, along with hydrofluorocarbons, to the ozone depleting substances. PFCs are emitted as by-products of industrial processes and are also used in manufacturing. PFCs do not harm the stratospheric ozone layer, but they are powerful greenhouse gases.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a type of greenhouse gas. Hydrofluorocarbons are compounds that contain only hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon atoms. They were introduced as alternatives to ozone depleting substances in serving many industrial, commercial, and personal needs. HFCs are emitted as by-products of industrial processes and are also used in manufacturing. They do not significantly deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, but they are powerful greenhouse gases.