WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 1, 2003 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has released proposed guidelines for the voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and reduction efforts designed to improve the accuracy, verifiability and completeness of greenhouse gas emission data reported under the registry program.
The issuance of the Nov. 26 proposal represents another significant step toward the establishment of a broad national effort to reduce greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy, and address the risk of global climate change.
The registry program was established as a voluntary program by section 1605(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The proposed revisions to the guidelines for the 1605(b) registry fulfill President George W. Bush’s directive that DOE enhance its voluntary reporting program.
The proposed revisions are a key element in the Administration’s efforts to encourage and document voluntary efforts to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Changes to the federal registry are necessary to significantly improve the documentation of participating entities’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We believe these changes will provide a more complete accounting of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by companies that report on their emission reduction programs. Such clarity and transparency will encourage increased participation in the registry by those companies that take their reduction programs seriously,” said Under Secretary of Energy Robert Card, who led an interagency process that developed the changes to the 1605(b) program. Participants in the interagency process included DOE, the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of Management and Budget.
The proposed revisions would enable the Department of Energy to fully recognize those participants in the registry who provide an accurate and complete accounting of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. The proposed guidelines will encourage major U.S. companies and institutions to undertake comprehensive reviews of their greenhouse gas emissions and to take actions to reduce emissions.
By emphasizing the importance of providing a full accounting of all greenhouse gas emissions and emission reductions, the revised guidelines are designed to stimulate the type of broad, economy-wide effort that is needed to make substantial progress toward achieving the President’s goals for reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the U.S. economy.
Under the revised guidelines, a wide range of entities, including utilities, manufacturers, landowners and citizens, will be able to register their greenhouse gas emissions reductions if they provide entity-wide emissions data and demonstrate entity-wide emission reductions after 2002.
Other provisions encourage participation in the registry by small emitters of greenhouse gases, such as households, farmers, and small businesses. Reporters not seeking to register reductions on an entity-wide basis can continue to report emissions and emission reductions without meeting the new entity-wide requirements. However, participants are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunity to do entity-wide reporting, which can best showcase successful reduction efforts.
Other technical changes to registry reporting requirements are being developed and will be made available for review and comment at a later date.
The proposed guidelines being released today take into consideration the opinions of and strike a balance among the many comments received from states, industry and environmental groups during the numerous stakeholder reviews and meetings conducted by the interagency group. The proposed guidelines will be published in the Federal Register for a 60-day public comment period.
To implement the President’s directive, DOE led extensive interagency consultations, issued a public Notice of Inquiry, established a website to distribute background analyses and receive stakeholder comments, held four public workshops (USDA hosted two additional workshops on agricultural and forestry issues), and met with numerous stakeholder groups. DOE will host another public workshop on January 15, 2004 to discuss today’s proposal. More information on this workshop and on the proposed guidelines being released today is available at: http://www.pi.energy.gov/enhancingGHGregistry/. Those wishing to offer comment on the proposed guidelines can do so by emailing: email@example.com
Revising the general guidelines for the voluntary 1605(b) registry is just one of many actions taken by the Bush Administration to address climate change. The President’s approach recognizes that climate change is a century-long challenge, but one the nation must begin to address now. In response, the Bush Administration has taken short-, mid-, and long-term actions to reduce U.S. emissions.
The Department of Energy has led the way in developing the types of major technological advances necessary to reduce substantially global emissions of greenhouse gases, including:
* Freedom CAR & Hydrogen Fuel Initiatives — a $1.7 billion effort over the next five years to further develop the technologies needed for a future hydrogen economy.
* Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum – Ministers from more than a dozen countries, including China, India, Japan, Italy and Mexico, have joined the U.S.-led cooperative effort to further technologies to capture and permanently store carbon dioxide. Efforts include investments of $110 million in public and private funds on 65 domestic and international carbon sequestration projects.
Since taking office, the Bush Administration has developed an ambitious approach to climate change that rests on technology, science, voluntary action, and international cooperation (more details can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030930-4.html)
Administration-wide efforts include:
National Goal to Reduce Emissions Growth: In February 2002, President Bush committed the United States to a comprehensive strategy to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of the American economy (emissions per unit of economic activity) by 18 percent over the next 10 years.
Large Budget Increases for Global Climate Change: President Bush’s FY ’04 budget sought a 15 percent increase in funding for climate change-related programs, bringing total U.S. Government spending to $4.3 billion, the highest level ever.
Tax Incentives for Renewable Energy and Hybrid and Fuel-Cell Vehicles: The President’s FY ’04 budget proposed tax incentives totaling $4.2 billion through FY ’08 to spur the use of clean, renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Consistent with the President’s National Energy Policy, the tax incentives include credits for the purchase of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, residential solar heating systems, energy produced from landfill gas, electricity produced from alternative energy sources such as wind and biomass, and combined heat and power systems.
Cabinet Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration: President Bush has created an interagency, Cabinet-level committee, co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, to coordinate and prioritize federal research on global climate science and advanced energy technologies. This committee develops policy recommendations for the President and oversees the sub-Cabinet interagency programs on climate science and energy technologies.
“Climate VISION” Partnership. In February 2003, President Bush announced that 12 major industrial sectors and the membership of the Business Roundtable have committed to work with four of his cabinet agencies (DOE, EPA, DOT, and USDA) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. Participating industries included America’s electric utilities; petroleum refiners and natural gas producers; automobile, iron and steel, chemical and magnesium manufacturers; forest and paper producers; railroads; and the cement, mining, aluminum and semiconductor industries.
Climate Leaders. Announced by EPA Administrator Whitman in February 2002, Climate Leaders is an EPA partnership encouraging individual companies to develop long-term, comprehensive climate change strategies. Under this program, partners set corporate-wide emissionreduction goals and inventory their emissions to measure progress. Over 35 major companies are now participating, including General Motors, Alcoa, BP, Pfizer, Staples, International Paper, IBM, Miller Brewing, Eastman Kodak, and Target.
Targeted Incentives for Greenhouse Gas Sequestration. On June 6, 2003, Agriculture Secretary Veneman announced that, for the first time, consideration will be given to management practices that store carbon and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in setting priorities and implementing USDA’s forest and agriculture conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program. USDA would provide financial incentives, technical assistance, demonstrations, pilot programs, education, and capacity building, along with measurements to assess the success of these efforts.
International Cooperation. The U.S. is engaged in extensive international efforts on climate, both through multilateral and bilateral activities. Multilaterally, the U.S. is by far the largest funder of the activities of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and leads R&D projects through the Generation IV International Forum, which is developing the next-generation nuclear systems to produce electricity and hydrogen for transportation use without emitting greenhouse gas emissions.
Bilaterally, the U.S. has developed a number of agreements with major international partners, including Russia, Canada, China and the European Union, to pursue research on global climate change and deploy climate observation systems, collaborate on energy and sequestration technologies, and explore methodologies for monitoring and measuring GHG emissions.