One U.S. EPA climate change effort survived the Trump administration’s budget slaughter.
Programs to track greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, factories, power plants and other sources will continue to receive funding, according to the fiscal 2018 budget proposal the White House released yesterday.
If Congress approves Trump’s budget, the programs will be among the government’s last substantive federal climate initiatives.
“Having the government pull that data together and do that in a consistent way is extremely important,” said Kevin Kennedy, deputy director for the U.S. Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute.
EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects emissions data for carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane, along with other greenhouse gases, from more than 8,000 major emitters across the economy, including some power plants and refineries.
The agency shares the data with members of industry, researchers, state and local government, and the public to “better understand emissions inform opportunities, and communicate progress of actions,” according to EPA.
The agency uses that information collected by the program to help develop its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which outlines most greenhouse gas emissions throughout the country. The United States is mandated under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to produce the inventory. The United States ratified the treaty in 1992.
“The only way to withdraw would be to go through congressional action, and that would take a lot of work at a time when they could be using that effort for other things,” said Pam Lacey, chief regulatory counsel at the American Gas Association, in an interview earlier this year.
While the inventory is specifically required under international law, it’s not clear why the program that feeds data into it escaped broad cuts. The fiscal 2018 budget request allocates $8.5 million for implementing the program. The funding would go to making revisions to data collection and release, according to EPA’s congressional justification for appropriations.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from E&E News. E&E provides daily coverage of essential energy and environmental news at www.eenews.net.