A total of 228 U.S. companies and other entities reported to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program that they had undertaken 1,705 projects to reduce or sequester greenhouse gases in 2001.
Expressed as a percentage of estimated total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2001, reported direct emission reductions represented 3.2 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while reported indirect reductions were 1.0 percent, unspecified reductions corresponded to 0.2 percent, and carbon sequestration represented 0.1 percent.
Direct reductions are emission reductions from sources owned or leased by the reporting entity, while indirect reductions are emission reductions from sources not owned or leased by the reporting entity but that occur as a result of the entity’s activities.
Reported emission reductions included 222 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in direct emission reductions, 71 MMTCO2e in indirect emission reductions, and 8 million metric tons of reductions from carbon sequestration. In addition, 15 million metric tons of reductions were reported under the EIA 1605EZ form, which does not specify whether reported reductions are direct reductions or indirect reductions.
Relative to 2000 levels, direct emission reductions increased by 5.2 percent, indirect reductions grew by 14.4 percent and unspecified reductions expanded by 20.9 percent, while carbon sequestration fell by 11.7 percent.
The electric power sector, with 103 companies reporting, continued to provide the largest number of participants to the program. Reporters included nearly all of the largest electricity generating utilities. The companies reported projects such as 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.
The Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, required by Section 1605(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, is part of U.S. Government’s efforts to develop innovative, low-cost, and nonregulatory approaches to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), absorb infrared energy and prevent it from leaving the atmosphere.