Mandatory emissions reporting proposed in US

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Courtesy of Intelex Technologies Inc.

As we move more and more towards an increasingly eco-conscious and environmentally friendly society, progressively steps are being taken by governments, officials and regulatory bodies to help facilitate this transition at a national level both efficiently and effectively. One such area that has received particular attention is the industrial sector; this is ultimately due to the amounts of emissions released into our atmosphere from industrial and manufacturing sites which can be linked to the effects of global warming. Mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions by organizations operating in the industrial sector is an initiative that has already been explored and adopted in Canada and in the state of California, but a recent article posted on reveals the details of a newly proposed national emissions reporting system in the US that if passed will prove to be a large step forward for the green movement.

The article, entitled “EPA Releases Proposed Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule,” outlines how the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a comprehensive national system for reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act. Originally published in the Federal Register (the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations in the US), the new rule would require industrial facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide equivalent (C02e) to submit an annual emissions report to the EPA beginning in 2011 for the year 2010. Smaller businesses that generate less than 25,000 tons of C02e annually will not be required to submit a report. With the main goal of this new initiative to harvest accurate and comprehensive data, the EPA plans to use the figures generated to inform future policy decisions. Although this newly proposed rule would see many US organizations having to generate emissions reports for the first time, in Canada and the state of California this is nothing new. Canada’s Turning the Corner, a regulatory framework for industrial greenhouse gas emissions announced in April of 2007, requires Canadian industrial companies to submit annual reports with the goal of reducing emissions 18% from their 2006 levels by the year 2010. In California, 2009 marks the first year of required emissions reporting under California’s groundbreaking Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. The Act’s goal is an emissions reduction of 25% over the 30 year period from 1990 to 2020, and then in 2050 a reduction to 80% below 1990 levels. This newly proposed rule is keeping with the recent trend of creating a culture of corporate transparency, in which the barriers restricting access to once undisclosed information are being brought down to increase visibility into organizations operations and encourage a higher level of corporate social responsibility.

One particular challenge that comes along with emissions reporting is tracking and recording an accurate set of data. As the article mentions, “Verification will be an important element of the requirements. The reporting organization will self-certify the emissions data and other specifically activity data and submit the inventory report to the EPA for quality assurance verification.” The EPA has estimated the average cost of reporting emissions under the newly proposed rule to be approximately $0.04 per metric ton. With organizations responsible for self-certifying their own emissions data, a cost friendly and effective reporting system is crucial to finding success within these new regulations. Web based emissions tracking solutions like the one offered by Intelex Technologies have been implemented by many organizations to handle their emissions reporting due to their cost-effectiveness , ability to track across multiple locations and their overall ease of use and implementation. With more and more green initiatives being proposed and passed it is clear that the future of the industrial sector will no doubt continue to follow the trend of corporate transparency, ultimately fostering sustainability and industry growth in a period of economic downturn.

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