Friday, January 13, 2012

EPA map locates largest carbon-dioxide emitters

The Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled a searchable, interactive map identifying the country's largest emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The map offers detailed information about large industrial sources, including power plants, refineries, chemical factories and paper mills. Data were compiled from 6,157 sources and are current through 2010. The database covers almost 80 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emitters.

the head of EPA's air and radiation office, Gina McCarthy, told John Broder of The New York Times she hopes the information "would eventually lead to pressure for emissions cuts." The administration is drafting regulations for carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, but it's unclear when they will be released.

Data shows power plants create 72.3 percent of all greenhouae-gas emissions. The three plants emitting the most CO2 are in Georgia and Alabama and are owned by the Atlanta-based Southern Co. Texas has the highest total emissions from power plants and refineries, and Pennsylvania is second. Broder reports the map has limitations, like not including emissions from agriculture, forestry or transportation, not reflecting the nature of the electric system, and not showing information about efficiency of emission sources. However, David Doniger, Natural Resources Defense Council policy director, told Broder the database is a "very powerful small-d democratic tool." (Read more)

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