Tuesday, 28 February 2017

EPA: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

I have been uploaded pages from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website that were downloaded before Trump became President. His team's attacks on scientific facts have been unprecedented and relentless. Government agency websites have already been altered from above, and sadly a degree of self-censorship has crept in as people fear for their jobs and the future of their research programmes.
For example, it was reported in today's 'inside climate news' that the EPA had removed all mention of climate change in relation to its Water Utilities Program. The EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities department had already been rebranded as the Creating Resilient Water Utilities department. For details see: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27022017/epa-climate-change-donald-trump
Increasingly government websites are reflecting the views of far-right fossil fuel industry funded lobby groups such as the Heartland Institute [http://climateconference.heartland.org/about/] rather than reflecting actual scientific facts concerning man-made climate change (as supported by over 97% of all scientists working in this field).

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events—like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures—are already taking place. These changes are linked to the climbing levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels for energy.

By taking action to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas pollution that warms our planet, we can reduce the risks we will face from future climate change. EPA, businesses, and individuals all have an important role to play.

Clean Power Plan

Learn About Carbon Pollution From Power Plants

In 2009, EPA determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans' health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas pollutant, accounting for nearly three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions and 84% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

On this page:

Total U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector in 2012

Carbon pollution and power plants

The electric power sector accounted for 32% of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity have increased by about 11% since 1990 as electricity demand has grown and fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generation.

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions. To generate electricity, fossil fuel-fired power plants use natural gas, petroleum, coal or any form of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel derived from such materials.

Health and climate effects of carbon pollution

Climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges we face. Climate impacts affect all Americans’ lives. 

Learn More

Unchecked carbon pollution leads to long-lasting changes in our climate, such as:

  • Rising global temperatures
  • Rising sea level
  • Changes in weather and precipitation patterns
  • Changes in ecosystems, habitats and species diversity

These changes threaten America's health and welfare for current and future generations. Public health risks include:

  • More heat waves and drought
  • Worsening smog (also called ground-level ozone pollution)
  • Increasing the intensity of extreme events, like hurricanes, extreme precipitation and flooding
  • Increasing the range of ticks and mosquitoes, which can spread disease such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus

Our most vulnerable citizens, including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease and people living in poverty may be most at risk from the health impacts of climate change.

2014 was the hottest year in recorded history, and 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all occurred in the first 15 years of this century. And already, the first half of this year has recorded warmer than normal temperatures.

Overwhelmingly, the best scientists in the world are telling us that our activities are causing climate change – based on troves of data and millions of measurements collected over the course of decades on land, in air and water, at sea and from space. 

Community resources

Clean Power Plan Community Page

This website provides resources to help inform overburdened communities about the final Clean Power Plan and the proposed Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules (this rulemaking will be henceforth referred to as the proposed federal plan). Additionally, this website provides resources that the EPA is making available to help communities engage with their states as they implement their plans and to assist communities in engaging with the EPA throughout the comment period for the proposed federal plan.

The Clean Power Plan will provide broad benefits to communities across the nation, as its purpose is to reduce greenhouse gases, the most significant driver of climate change. While addressing climate change will provide broad benefits, it is particularly beneficial to low-income communities of color that are already overburdened with pollution and that are more likely to be disproportionately affected by, and less resilient to, the impacts of climate change.

The electricity sector is, and will continue to be, investing more in renewable energy and energy efficiency. It is important to ensure that all communities share in these benefits.


·         EPA’s Commitment to EJ

·         EJSCREEN (the EPA’s environmental justice mapping and screening tool)



·         Past webinars/trainings


·         DOE site:

·         Administration Announces New Initiative to Increase Solar Access for All Americans, including the Administration goal of installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy in federally subsidized housing.

·         Department of Energy:  Weatherization Assistance Program

·         Health and Human Service:  Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

·         Department of Agriculture: 

·         Housing and Urban Development: 

o    Multifamily Property Accessed Clean Energy Pilot with the State of California, PowerSaver Program

·         Treasury: New Markets Tax Credit Program

·         Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (PDF) (3 pp, 89 K, About PDF)

·         EPA:


·         Job Training:

o    Dept. of Labor:


o    EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Resources for Communities

o    African Americans

o    Hispanic & Latino Communities

o    Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders

o    Tribes and Indigenous People

o    Public Health

o    Children's Health

o    Older Americans

o    Faith Communities

o    Outdoor Recreation

o    Labor

o    Agriculture

·         Other resources



·         AirNow: Find out how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, along with associated health effects that may be of concern.

o    EnviroFlash – air quality forecasts and action day notification via email

Regulatory Actions

Supreme Court Stays Clean Power Plan

On February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Clean Power Plan pending judicial review. The Court’s decision was not on the merits of the rule. EPA firmly believes the Clean Power Plan will be upheld when the merits are considered because the rule rests on strong scientific and legal foundations. For the states that choose to continue to work to cut carbon pollution from power plants and seek the agency’s guidance and assistance, EPA will continue to provide tools and support. We will make any additional information available as necessary. 

President Obama's Climate Action Plan

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change and lead international efforts to address global climate change. As part of the Climate Action Plan, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the EPA to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for the power sector. You can learn more about the President's Climate Action plan on the White House web site.

Developing carbon pollution standards for power plants under the Clean Air Act

Related Information

The Clean Air Act (CAA) lays out distinct approaches for new and existing sources under Section 111: a federal program for new sources and state programs for existing sources. EPA is using its authority under section 111 of the Act to issue standards, regulations or guidelines, as appropriate that address carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, including modifications of those plants.

In the CAA, Congress recognized that the opportunity to build emissions controls into the design of a stationary source is greater for new sources than existing sources, so it laid out different approaches to set the two types of standards:

  • Section 111(b) creates a federal program to establish standards for new, modified and reconstructed stationary sources.
  • Section 111(d) is a state based program for existing stationary sources where EPA establishes guidelines and the states then design programs to fit in those reductions to get the needed reductions.

Regulatory actions for power plants

EPA finalized two rules under CAA Section 111 to reduce carbon pollution - or CO2 - from power plants and proposed a federal plan for the Clean Power Plan:


History of Reducing Air Pollution from Transportation in the United States (U.S.)

On this page:

The Problem—Increasing Air Pollution in Cities in the mid-1900's

After World War II, economic growth, population growth, rapid suburbanization, and the closing of some public transit systems led to more reliance on personal vehicles for transportation. The number of cars and trucks in the United States increased dramatically, as did the number of highways. One result of the rapid increase of motor vehicles was air pollution, especially in cities, that had serious impacts on public health and the environment.

Historic Success of the Clean Air Act

Congress passed the landmark Clean Air Act in 1970 and gave the newly-formed EPA the legal authority to regulate pollution from cars and other forms of transportation.  EPA and the State of California have led the national effort to reduce vehicle pollution by adopting increasingly stringent standards.

The U.S. vehicle pollution control under the Clean Air Act is a major success story by many measures:

  • New passenger vehicles are 98-99% cleaner for most tailpipe pollutants compared to the 1960s.
  • Fuels are much cleaner—lead has been eliminated, and sulfur levels are more than 90% lower than they were prior to regulation.
  • U.S. cities have much improved air quality, despite ever increasing population and increasing vehicle miles traveled.
  • Standards have sparked technology innovation from industry.

Reducing pollution from transportation sources has led to healthier air for Americans.  In cities, smog has been visibly reduced. Just compare the images of New York City below.

New York City: 1973 vs. 2013

Source: EPA Documerica "Then and Now Challenge"

Pollution from vehicles, engines, and fuels dramatically reduced while achieving economic growth

Over forty years of clean air policies have improved air quality and improved the health of Americans, and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has set and implemented emissions standards to control pollution from everything from passenger vehicles, heavy duty trucks and buses, construction and farm equipment, locomotive and marine engine and even lawn and garden equipment.  These standards are a critical part of the progress and improved air quality we have achieved despite increased economic activity and more miles traveled on average per person.

Note: CO2 emissions estimate through 2013 (Source: 2014 US Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report)
Gross Domestic Product: 
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Vehicle Miles Traveled: 
Federal Highway Administration
Census Bureau
Energy Consumption: 
Dept. of Energy, Energy Information Administration
Aggregate Emissions: 
Air Pollutant Emissions Trends Data

Cleaner Cars, Trucks, and Fuels

Compared to 1970 vehicle models, new cars, SUVs and pickup trucks are roughly 99 percent cleaner for common pollutants (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particle emissions). New heavy-duty trucks and buses are roughly 99 percent cleaner than 1970 models.  

Lead Removed from Gasoline

Motor vehicles were once the major contributor of lead emissions.  EPA began to phase out lead in gasoline starting in the 1970’s and leaded gasoline was fully prohibited after 1995.  As a result, levels of lead in the air decreased by 94 percent between 1980 and 1999.

Source: USEPA/Environmental Criteria and Assessment Office (1986).

Learn more:

Spurring Innovation in Cleaner Cars, Trucks, and Fuels

EPA vehicle emissions standards directly sparked the development and implementation of a range of technologies.The automotive catalytic converter, in particular is considered to be one of the great environmental inventions of all time.   

Emissions standards led to the adoption of many modern automotive technologies—computers, fuel injection, and on-board diagnostics—resulting in cars that are not only much cleaner, but also higher quality, more reliable, and more durable.

The vehicle emissions control industry employs approximately 65,000 Americans with domestic annual sales of $26 billion1.

Contributions to the U.S. Economy

Efforts to reduce air pollution from transportation have proven to be cost effective.  For every one dollar spent on programs to reduce emissions, the American people receive nine dollars of benefits to public health and the environment.

Based on analysis of major federal rules from 2000 to 2012.
Source: “
Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of federal Regulations and Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Entities”, Office of Management and Budget. 2001-2013.


Learn more:

Timeline of Major Accomplishments

Air pollution and cars were first linked in the early 1950’s by a California researcher who determined that pollutants from traffic was to blame for the smoggy skies over Los Angeles. At the time, typical new cars were emitting nearly 13 grams per mile hydrocarbons (HC), 3.6 grams per mile nitrogen oxides (NOx), and 87grams per mile carbon monoxide (CO). Since then, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set standards to bring down levels of these pollutants, and the auto industry has responded by developing new emission control technologies.

Learn more:

The Road Ahead

Despite our successes, many places in the United States still have poor local air quality and there is more to be done.  EPA is now taking on the critical challenge of climate change.  Carbon pollution  from burning fossil fuels is rapidly changing the earth’s climate. The transportation sector is one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in the U.S. EPA has set carbon emissions standards for passenger cars and trucks, onroad heavy duty trucks and buses, and is now working to develop standards for aircraft.

Learn more about EPA’s current standards and programs to reduce pollution from transportation:


Carbon Pollution from Transportation

Transportation and Climate Change

Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, resulting in changes to the climate we are already starting to see today.  

​Twenty-six percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is from transportation. Transportation is the second leading source of GHG emissions in the United States, just behind electricity. Between 1990 and 2014, GHG emissions in the transportation sector increased more in absolute terms than any other sector.  

Learn more:

EPA Programs to Reduce Carbon Pollution from Transportation

EPA is addressing climate change by taking the following actions to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector. Many of these programs have benefits beyond cutting carbon. For example, decreasing fuel consumption can reduce our dependence on foreign oil and save consumers money at the pump. 

Setting GHG Emissions Standards for Cars and Trucks

EPA and DOT issued a joint rule-making that set GHG emissions and fuel economy standards for the largest sources of greenhouse gases from transportation, including cars, light trucks, and heavy-duty trucks.

Light-duty GHG regulations for passenger vehicles and trucks are projected to:

  • Cut 6 billion metric tons of GHG emissions over the lifetimes of the vehicles sold in model years 2012-2025 and allowing manufacturers flexibility in meeting the standards;
  • Nearly double the fuel efficiency while protecting consumer choice; and
  • Reduce America’s dependence on oil and provide significant savings for consumers at the pump.

Heavy-duty GHG regulations are projected to:

  • Reduce CO2 emissions by about 270 million metric tons over the life of vehicles built under the program, saving about 530 million barrels of oil; and
  • The proposed “Phase 2” program includes standards that would further reduce GHG emissions and improve the fuel efficiency of medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Learn more:

Increasing the Use of Renewable Fuels

Congress created the Renewable Fuel Standard program in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation’s renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil. Renewable fuels are produced from plants, crops and other biomass, and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared to burning the fossil fuels they replace.

Learn more:

Taking First Steps to Set a Greenhouse Gas Standards for Aircraft

EPA along with the Federal Aviation Agency at the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization have developed international carbon dioxide emissions standards for aircraft. EPA is also now working through the process of potentially setting domestic regulations under the Clean Air Act that address GHG emissions from certain classes of engines used in aircraft.

Learn more:

Greening the Federal Fleet

The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act requires federal agencies to only acquire cars, light trucks, or medium-duty passenger vehicles that are low greenhouse gas emitting. Each year, EPA evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions performance of the fleet to determine which vehicles in each class emit less harmful greenhouse gases.  The law requires federal agencies to purchase these high performing vehicles.  Over time this will result in a greener federal fleet.  

Learn more:

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Moving Goods

SmartWay helps the freight transportation sector improve supply chain efficiency, reducing greenhouse gases and saving fuel costs for companies who participate. Through SmartWay, EPA and its partners are making significant gains in the efficiency of how our nation moves goods, helping address air quality challenges, improving public health and reducing freight’s contribution to climate change.

Learn more:

Informing Consumers Information on Fuel Economy and Advanced Technology Cars

Since the mid-1970s EPA has required automakers to display a label on new cars and light trucks with information on vehicles' fuel economy and fuel costs. Labels on today's cars also include ratings on greenhouse gas and smog-forming pollutants. EPA provides online resources, such as the Green Vehicle Guide and the joint EPA-DOE website fueleconomy.gov, to help consumers identify vehicles that can save them money at the pump and reduce their transportation-related emissions.

EPA’s SmartWay light duty program goes further and identifies the top performing vehicles in terms of fuel economy and emissions to assist consumers in making an environmentally friendly purchase. 

Learn more:

Green Racing

Green Racing uses motorsports competition to promote the rapid development of cleaner, fuel efficient vehicles technologies that can be used in consumer vehicles. Green Racing is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, and its activities are guided by SAE Green Racing Protocols. Green Racing challenges the racing industry to use alternative technologies and clean fuels to gain the highest performance with the lowest environmental impact. The transfer of these innovations “From the Raceway to the Driveway” is the primary objective of Green Racing.

Learn more:

State and Local Transportation Resources Center

For information on emission reduction strategies, national policies and regulations, incentive-based and voluntary programs, funding sources, calculators, transportation conformity, and other types of assistance to help states and local areas achieve their air quality and transportation objectives.

Learn more:

The Road Ahead

While transportation continues to contribute a large percentage of U.S. emissions, there are many opportunities for the sector to deliver greenhouse gas reductions. Low-carbon fuels, new and improved vehicle technologies, strategies to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, and operating vehicles more efficiently are all approaches to reducing greenhouse gases from transportation.

Learn more: