The EPA released 2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) data collected under the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). In 2020, reported emissions from large industrial sources were approximately 9% lower than in 2019, reflecting both the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing, long-term industry trends.
“The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis, and has committed to a whole-of-government approach to achieve ambitious reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,” said Joseph Goffman, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program is supporting these efforts by providing high-quality, long-term-data for the largest emitters, and contributing important details on greenhouse gas emissions trends.”
More than 8,100 large facilities reported greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to EPA. The data show that in 2020:
- Power plants were the largest stationary source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions reporting to the GHGRP, with 1,339 facilities emitting approximately 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Reported power plant emissions in 2020 declined by 10% between 2019 and 2020, and nearly 33% since 2011 reflecting both changes in electricity use during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well long-term shifts in power sector fuel-stock from coal to natural gas.
- Petroleum and natural gas systems were the second largest stationary source of emissions, reporting 316 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Reported emissions for 2020 were 9% lower than in 2019, but 11.6% percent higher than 2016. (2016 is the earliest year of comparable data for this sector, as new industry segments began reporting that year.)
- Reported emissions from other large sources in the industrial and waste sectors were a combined 2,286 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, down 8.9% from 2019, and down 26% since 2011. All sectors reported emissions reductions, with the largest reductions in the metals, oil and gas, and refineries sectors, reflecting the reduced demand for automobiles and gasoline due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
With this year’s data publication, GHGRP is adding a new demographic mapping layer to EPA’s user-friendly online tool for presenting GHGRP data, the Facility Level Information on Greenhouse gases Tool (FLIGHT). The mapping layer will allow users to view demographic index information, including the average of percent low-income and percent people of color, using census tract information drawn from EPA’s EJSCREEN. GHGRP is also releasing a new “dashboard” to view data on demographic indicators in proximity to GHGRP reporting facilities by industry through interactive maps, graphs, and charts. Although the emissions reported to EPA by reporting facilities are global pollutants, many of these facilities also release pollutants that have a more direct and local impact in the surrounding communities.
EPA will be holding an informational webinar to demonstrate its greenhouse gas data publication tools, including new features, and a tutorial on common searches, on October 12, 2021.
This is the eleventh year of data collection for most sectors under the GHGRP. As directed by Congress, EPA collects annual, facility-level emissions data from major industrial sources, including power plants, oil and gas production, iron and steel mills, and landfills. GHGRP gathers direct emissions information from the largest stationary sources in the U.S., representing approximately 50% of total U.S. emissions. GHGRP also gathers information from suppliers of fossil fuels and high global-warming greenhouse gases. The data from these suppliers are reported at the point of production rather than the point of use and provide information about the greenhouse gas emissions that occur when these products are eventually burned or employed by an end user. Information reported by these suppliers covers an additional 35-40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. More than 8,100 direct emitters and suppliers report GHG data to GHGRP.
A complete accounting of total U.S. GHG emissions is available through a separate EPA report, the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.
For more information and to register for the webinar, visit https://epa.gov/ghgreporting/.