Greenhouse gas (GHG) management has become an integral part of industry operations as climate change is the rallying issue in a new frontier of global warming laws and GHG emissions regulations for industry. Global warming is caused when radiant energy from the sun heats the earth's surface and GHGs emitted into the atmosphere trap this heat, an effect similar to the glass panels of a greenhouse. The most common greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, or CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide, all emitted by industry and prime targets for regulation.
Industries are facing policies and regulations that will require them to reduce GHG emissions. Following is a general status of global warming laws in the United States:
- EPA has implemented mandatory GHG reporting for many industries at 40 CFR 98.
- EPA has established GHG emissions thresholds for major source construction and operating permits.
- Most states have developed climate action plans to identify legislative, regulatory, and policy actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and many are making significant progress implementing these actions.
- Many states have implemented or are developing CO2 cap-and-trade programs. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has established such a program in the northeast. The Western Climate Initiative and the Midwest GHG Reduction Accord are developing such programs in their respective regions.
- Some states have implemented mandatory GHG reporting requirements.
GHG emissions reporting and permitting requirements are here, and GHG reduction requirements for your facilities are coming. Your first step to help you prepare is to calculate and document your current GHG emissions rates at your facility. By doing so, you are able to comply with applicable reporting and permitting requirements, and you establish a baseline emission rate, making it possible to quantify the success of your GHG emissions reduction efforts and to receive credits for voluntary reductions that may be preserved for use under any future incentive-based or mandatory GHG reduction programs.
Any facility may report GHG emissions under the U.S. Department of Energy's voluntary greenhouse gas reporting guidelines at 10 CFR 300. In addition, most states participate in the Climate Registry, which is a nationwide registry that supports voluntary and mandatory GHG emissions reporting from the participating states. Reporting to the registry ensures that consistent reporting and accounting methodologies are used despite the differences in the various climate change policies and programs from state to state.
After establishing your baseline emissions rate, take actions to reduce the carbon footprint of your facility, such as using renewable energy and renewable fuels and implementing measures to improve the energy efficiency of your operations.
Enviro.BLR.com has GHG management tools as well as practical compliance analysis. Some of the most used GHG management resources available from BLR include:
- Guidance documents
- Feature articles
- Proposed regulations
Our knowledgeable editors continually add new GHG management resources. If you need an environmental compliance solution, BLR has it!
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Western Climate Initiative
EPA Climate Change