A new tool released Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that power plants are by far the nation’s largest stationary source of emissions contributing to climate change. The tool, part of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, makes public for the first time emissions data searchable across industry from more than 6,700 facilities.
According to the information, power plants released the equivalent of 2,324 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, followed by petroleum refineries with emissions of 183 metric tons.
The data also show that carbon dioxide accounted for the largest share of direct greenhouse gas emissions with 95 percent, followed by methane with 4 percent. Nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases combined accounted for the remaining 1 percent.
One hundred facilities each reported emissions over 7 million metric tons, including 96 power plants, two iron and steel mills and two refineries.
Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation said in a news release, “The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data provides a critical tool for businesses and other innovators to find cost- and fuel-saving efficiencies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and foster technologies to protect public health and the environment.”
EPA’s tool provides 2010 data from a range of sectors, including power plants, refineries, paper mills and chemical plants, and allows communities to identify nearby sources of greenhouse gas emissions.