Enforcement and Inspection

EPA Releases 2020 Greenhouse Gas Data

The 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) data collected under the EPA’s GHG Reporting Program (GHGRP) revealed that reported emissions from large industrial sources were 9% lower than in 2019. The EPA released the information on October 6, 2021, and attributes the decrease to “both the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing, long-term industry trends.”

GHG data for 2020 was gathered from more than 8,100 large facilities and showed:

  • “Power plants were the largest stationary source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reporting to the GHGRP, with 1,339 facilities emitting approximately 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Reported power plant emissions in 2020 declined by 10% between 2019 and 2020, and nearly 33% since 2011 reflecting both changes in electricity use during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well long-term shifts in power sector fuel-stock from coal to natural gas.
  • Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest stationary source of emissions, reporting 316 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Reported emissions for 2020 were 9% lower than in 2019, but 11.6% percent higher than 2016. (2016 is the earliest year of comparable data for this sector, as new industry segments began reporting that year.)
  • Reported emissions from other large sources in the industrial and waste sectors were a combined 2,286 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, down 8.9% from 2019, and down 26% since 2011. All sectors reported emissions reductions, with the largest reductions in the metals, oil and gas, and refineries sectors, reflecting the reduced demand for automobiles and gasoline due to the COVID 19 pandemic.”

GHGRP data tool

The EPA also announced new features added to its GHGRP data tool, which is used to collect and report upon GHG data. The Agency has added a new demographic mapping layer for use in presenting the data—the Facility Level Information on Greenhouse gases Tool (FLIGHT).

“The mapping layer will allow users to view demographic index information, including the average of percent low-income and percent people of color, using census tract information drawn from EPA’s EJSCREEN,” states the EPA news release. “GHGRP is also releasing a new ‘dashboard’ to view data on demographic indicators in proximity to GHGRP reporting facilities by industry through interactive maps, graphs, and charts. Although the emissions reported to EPA by reporting facilities are global pollutants, many of these facilities also release pollutants that have a more direct and local impact in the surrounding communities.”

The EPA has made a GHGRP Data Highlights Dashboard available to the public.