In December we saw in this space that a US Environmental Protection Agency inventory showed solid reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in recent years. Now EPA has issued its annual Climate Protection Partnerships report, which contains more good news on the emissions front.
EPA’s climate protection programs reduced US GHG emissions by 365 million tons in 2012 alone. Over 21,000 organizations across the country have made efforts to reduce GHG pollution by partnering with EPA through these programs. An EPA news release lists some of their accomplishments:
Americans saved more than $26 billion on their utility bills in 2012 with the help of ENERGY STAR and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use of 35 million homes. The ENERGY STAR program was introduced in 1992; since 2000, the benefits from it have more than quadrupled.
Since the Green Power Partnership was introduced in 2001, more than 1,400 organizations have committed to using about 29 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. These organizations, which include businesses, government agencies and colleges and universities, have committed to buying about 29 billion kWh of green power annually—enough electricity to run more than two million average American homes for one year.
More than 450 partners have installed over 5,700 megawatts of new combined heat and power since the Combined Heat and Power Partnership launched in 2001. CHP is cleaner than separately produced electricity and thermal energy, such as steam and hot water. CHP projects are up to 80 percent more efficient than traditional separate heat and power generation, and they can also reduce reliance on grid-supplied electricity.
In 2012, EPA’s methane and fluorinated greenhouse-gas-program partners used EPA tools and resources to prevent emissions equal to the annual electricity use from more than 10 million homes. Methane alone is the second most significant GHG behind CO2 by annual emissions, and contributes one-third of all anthropogenic (man-made) GHG emissions to climate change. Its atmospheric lifetime of about nine to 15 years is relatively short, which means that reductions made today will yield positive results in the near term.
STP has recently published an extensive update to its publication U.S. Federal Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Audit Protocol and also publishes the following related guides: