Exploring the New EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Database

By Andrew Freedman via Climate Central

Yesterday I told you about an informative new U.S. EPA greenhouse gas emissions database detailing the nation's larger sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In total, the database contains information on facilities that account for about 80 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. It excludes the agricultural sector and transportation.

My colleague Alyson Kenward sliced and diced the database, and came away with some interesting facts. According to her:

  • If you live in Atlanta, you're within an hour's drive (without traffic) of the two largest emitters in the country. Both are coal-fired power plants within 75 miles of the city.
  • Emitters in Texas, including power plants, refineries and chemical companies, produce nearly 400 million metric tons of greenhouse gases each year, which is more than double any other state. (Before you go messing with Texas, it should be noted that Texas is also the nation's largest producer of wind energy).
  • On a per capita basis, Texas isn't the worst offender. Wyoming is. In Texas, the big emitters account for about 15 tons of CO2 for every person in the state. The power plants in Wyoming are producing over 100 tons of CO2 for every person living in the state — almost twice as much as the next state on this list, North Dakota. Wyoming gets more than 90 percent of its electricity from coal power, and it is also a major producer of coal burned in other states or shipped overseas.
  • In California, the single biggest emitters in the state are oil refineries in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. In the Bay Area, in fact, there are five refineries that together produce 12 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent each year.
  • For most of the country, power plants, refineries and landfills are the biggest offenders. But in Indiana, the state's steel producing history catches up with itself. Steel manufactures account for nearly 20 percent of the state's emissions, more than twice as much as any other state.

We'd love to hear from you. What have you found in the new database? Let us know. Who knows, it may lead to a new feature story...

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