As President Obama tried to rekindle climate talks at the UN, the US government announced that major companies will now be required to monitor and report GHG emissions annually. While the move could make it easier for federal regulators to cut emissions if Congress does not pass a climate change bill, the initiative is actually intended to help the EPA get a handle on where greenhouse gas emissions originate so it can figure out the best course of action in advising Congress and the White House. The reporting system will cover 85% of GHG emissions that are spewed by 10,000 facilities. Any plant that emits more than 25,000 tons of CO2e would be required to start counting in January, 2010 for reporting in 2011. The global warming pollutants covered under the EPA’s reporting system include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydro-fluorocarbons.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to address the greenhouse gases polluting our skies,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “The American public, and industry itself, will finally gain critically important knowledge and with this information we can determine how best to reduce those emissions.” (Source: Reuters, September 22, 2009)

Contact: Cathy Milbourn, EPA, (202) 564-4355, milbourn.cathy@epa.gov, www.epa.gov