Online Tools Slice, Dice EPA Emissions Data

An interactive map lets you break down and visualize data from nine industry groups on 2010 emissions in the United States

Elizabeth Montalbano, Contributor

January 13, 2012

3 Min Read

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released 2010 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions data complete with online tools that help people break down specific information and better visualize the information provided.

The EPA's 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions data, released last week, shows emissions from large industrial facilities and includes public information from nine industry groups and 29 categories for emission sources, according to the EPA. More than 6,700 entities reported greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data for the year.

The groups represented in the data provided are: power plants; landfills metals manufacturers; mineral production; petroleum refineries; pulp and paper manufacturers; chemicals manufacturers; government and commercial facilities; and other industrial facilities.

The agency releases the information so businesses can keep track of their emissions and identify efficiencies to save costs and fuel, and to identify industry leaders in reducing emissions, according to the EPA. The data also informs both state and local government policy and the finance and investment communities, the agency said.

[ Third-party apps also showcase EPA data. See Air Quality App Leads EPA Challenge. ]

The EPA has accompanied the 2010 data with data-publication tools that allow people to break down information by state or do custom searches for facilities.

Using an interactive map, users can choose the specific emission on which they want to view data, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, or methane, and create other custom views. They also can create custom searches to find specific facilities and locations.

By hovering the cursor over a facility icon on the map, people can view its address, the type of industry it's in, and its emissions data.

That data is broken down into two main categories on the map: the default view of data emitters, which are facilities that combust fuels or emit GHGs directly, or suppliers, which supply fossil fuels or fluorinated gases into the economy which, when combusted, released or oxidized emit GHGs themselves.

Users also can download the data in an Excel file or Powerpoint presentation for alternative views of it.

According to the EPA's data, power plants were the largest stationary source of direct U.S. GHG emissions in 2010, with 2,324 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Refineries came in a distant second, with 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide accounted for 95% of emissions, the largest share of direct GHG emissions, according to the EPA.

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