Do you ever wonder whether auditing of greenhouse gas emissions is working? It may be a bit early in the game to say for sure, given that GHG emission tracking standards are a recent phenomenon. But an annual report compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be a good gauge of trends in emission reductions, judging by its latest installment.
The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks released earlier this year by the EPA covers emissions from 1990 to 2011. The report tracks emissions and removals by source, economic sector and greenhouse gas, and claims to provide a comprehensive account of total GHG emissions for all human-originated sources in the United States.
Total emissions were higher in 2011 than in 1990—emissions have increased over that period at an average annual rate of 0.4 percent. However, 2011 actually saw a 1.6 percent reduction in emissions from 2010. The report attributes this decline to lowered carbon intensity of fuels used to generate electricity (meaning a decrease in coal consumption in favor of natural gas and hydropower). As well, comparatively mild winter weather, especially in the South Atlantic Region of the U.S., reduced electricity demand over this time frame.
Reporting Rule Sees Calculation Changes
In other news, EPA is amending the calculation and monitoring methodologies for electronics manufacturers covered by the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (subpart I of part 98). These changes include revising certain calculation methods and adding a new method, amending data reporting requirements and clarifying terms and definitions. The EPA is also making confidentiality determinations for new and revised data elements pertaining to electronics manufacturing. The final rule associated with these changes also finalizes amendments to the general provisions of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule to remove entries for data elements that are being moved from reporting to recordkeeping. The final rule becomes effective on January 1, 2014.
STP recently published an update to U.S. Federal Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Audit Protocol and also publishes the following related guides:
Environmental Auditing: Federal Air Quality MACT Standards for Hazardous Waste Combustors
Onshore and Offshore Upstream Oil and Gas Operations: Federal Auditing Guide