Voluntary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions have almost tripled since 1994

provided by Energy Information Administration

ne hundred eighty-seven US companies and other organizations have reported to the Energy Information Administration 1,507 projects that claimed reductions or offsets of greenhouse gas emissions in 1998 of 212 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or about 3.2 percent of total US emissions for the year. This is almost three times the 74 million metric tons of reductions and offsets reported in 1994, the first year of a voluntary reporting program called for by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. "Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1998," released last month, discusses the results of the fifth year of the program.

With 105 reporters, the electric power sector continues to provide most of the participants in the program. Reporters included nearly all of the largest generating utilities in the United States. These companies reported projects such as improved plant efficiencies, cogeneration, use of non-fossil fuels such as nuclear and renewable fuels, and demand-side management programs that reduce power use by their customers. Other reported projects cover many different approaches to reducing or offsetting emissions, and include such activities as methane recovery projects at landfills, urban forestry, and worldwide tree planting projects.

The number of participants from outside the electric power sector was more than six times the number reporting in the first year of the program. These companies now comprise 44 percent of the reporters to the program and include firms engaged in automobile manufacturing, petroleum production and refining, coal mining, the chemical industry, the metals industry, health care, pharmaceuticals, food, home furnishings and electronic equipment.

The Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, required by Section 1605(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, is part of US Government efforts to develop innovative, low-cost, and nonregulatory approaches to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and halogenated substances such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs), absorb infrared energy and prevent it from leaving the atmosphere. Increasing levels of these gases in the atmosphere may contribute to an increase in average global temperatures, resulting in adverse climate changes.

The Voluntary Reporting Program affords an opportunity for any organization or individual to establish a public record of its achievements in reducing or offsetting greenhouse gas emissions in a national, publicly available database. Participants may report aggregate emissions and emission reductions as well as any activity that reduces or offsets greenhouse gas emissions. Offsetting emissions typically involves sequestering carbon by growing trees, which removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

"Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases 1998" is available electronically on EIA's web site at: www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/vrrpt/index.html.

Printed copies of the report are available from the US Government Printing Office, (202) 512-1800, or through EIA's National Energy Information Center, (202) 586-8800. For further information on reporting emission reductions or accessing a public database of the voluntary reports, contact EIA at 1-800-803-5182 or via email at infoghgeia.doe.gov.

The report described was prepared by the Energy Information Administration, the independent statistical and analytical agency within the US Department of Energy. The information contained in the report is attributed to the Energy Information Administration and should not be construed as advocating or reflecting any policy position of the Department of Energy or any other organization