U.S. Reports Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The use of renewable energy is one of the reasons for a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 1999.

WASHINGTON, DC – A total of 201 companies reported 1,715 projects to reduce GHG emissions by 226 million tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That level was three times the amount reported in 1994, which was the first year of the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program. The reported reduction was equal to 3.4 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions in 1999. EIA’s Voluntary Reporting Program invites organizations to establish a public record of its achievements in reducing or offsetting emissions in a national database. The electric power sector has 100 companies in the program and includes almost all the largest generating utilities. The companies report improved plant efficiencies, cogeneration, use of non-fossil fuels such as nuclear and renewable fuels, and demand-side management programs that reduce power use by their customers. Other projects cover many different approaches to reducing or offsetting emissions, including activities such as methane recovery projects at landfills, urban forestry, and worldwide tree planting projects. Electricity generation accounts for half of all reported reductions. Waste treatment and disposal projects through the reduction of methane emissions at landfills, account for 20 percent of reported reductions. Smaller reductions were reported for energy end-use projects designed to increase energy efficiency in end-use applications (such as lighting, appliances, and heating and air conditioning), methane reductions from petroleum, natural gas and coal systems, carbon sequestration projects, and cogen facilities. The Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, required under the Energy Policy Act of 1992, is part of U.S. Government efforts to develop innovative, low-cost, and nonregulatory approaches to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Increasing levels of these gases in the atmosphere may contribute to an increase in average global temperatures, resulting in adverse climate changes. Of the 226 million tonne of carbon equivalent (MMTCO2) reported reductions, the vast majority was in the form of carbon dioxide (172.2 MMTCO2), with lesser amounts of methane (48.8 MMTCO2), HFCs, PFCs and SF6 (4.3 MMTCO2), and nitrous oxide (0.3 MMTCO2). The 101 participants from outside the electric power sector was eight times the number reporting in the first year of the program. These companies include firms engaged in automobile manufacturing, petroleum production and refining, coal mining, and the chemical industry. EIA is the independent statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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