EPA plans to make greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting mandatory

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Courtesy of Courtesy of Verisae

Mandatory carbon (CO2) emissions reporting is more important than ever as the United States works with facilities to reduce substances known to adversely affect air quality, the climate, and lead to global warming. Most of the known matter that is destroying the earth’s ozone layer and contributing to global warming is derived from manmade compounds and chemicals with high global warming potential (GWP) and commonly known as greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Around the country a comprehensive initiative, which includes mandatory carbon emissions reporting has been introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the intention of controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gases (GHGs) that have an effect on global climate change. Unfortunately, some substances like refrigerant gases not only have high global warming potential but they also destroy the ozone layer when emitted into the atmosphere.

The U.S. EPA and other international government agencies have stated that carbon dioxide is a great danger to the health of the public in general and will be strictly regulated in the near future. A measuring, managing, and mitigating greenhouse gas emission places the foundation for future carbon emissions trading schemes within the United States. The European Union has worked on carbon emissions reductions as part of The Kyoto Protocol for a number of years. Later in 2009, the world leaders will meet again to hammer out details for the successor to The Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. under leadership form President Obama plan to be active participants.

As part of the draft greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations, any organization that uses refrigerant gases or other regulated substances would be required to comply with mandatory carbon emissions reporting. In addition to refrigerant gases, the following 6 chemical compounds all factor into a comprehensive carbon accounting. The Kyoto Protocol establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and two groups of refrigerant gases; hydrofluorocarbons (CFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFC.)

Refrigerant gases are known to affect the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Numerous gases are listed in the EPA regulations including nitrous oxide, methane, carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride, and ethers. These substances are important to track in relation to existing regulations such as The Montreal Protocol and are partially covered under the proposed mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting regulations.

The EPA's mandatory carbon emissions reporting plan comes into effect in 2010. Companies must file a first report in 2011 covering the previous year. These requirements cover those facilities with HVAC systems, refrigeration and AC systems, companies that make industrial chemicals, as well as fossil fuels, engines and automobiles. The following chemicals used in these industries have been identified as causing harm to the environment: chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, halons, methyl chloroform, chlorine, fluorine, bromine and carbon tetrachloride amongst others.

The U.S. Clean Air Act, in addition to the mandatory emissions reporting by amounts, calls for the facilities and municipalities alike to monitor and track and subsequently report harmful substances, such as refrigerant gases that are in common use. Companies that fail to comply face heavy penalties, not only in the form of fines from the EPA but also due to financial losses when carbon trading and the concepts of carbon credits become pervasive across the economy.

A business can address mandatory carbon emissions reporting in two ways. Monitoring and tracking can be handled manually and the reports completed by hand. However this approach can be very time-consuming and error-prone, and many will opt to use a software program or a web-based application to automatically handle the monitoring and tracking requirements of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Automation helps to ensure that reports are accurate and timely. Automation is also cost-effective and much more efficient for companies with multiple operational locations or systems.

Mandatory carbon emissions reporting will definitely lower this country's greenhouse gas emissions. The government has said that 13,000 facilities are responsible for between 85 and 90% of the harmful substances in the air.

The United States, through the implementation of a mandatory carbon emissions reporting program, ensure that businesses will reduce their carbon footprint and will help to mitigate adverse climate changes in the years ahead. This initiative is being repeated at various locations worldwide with the aim of addressing climate change head on – in as straightforward of a manner with immediate financial incentives to drive rapid and economy wide adoption of carbon reduction and market-based trading.

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