Current and Near-Term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives
Across the Federal government, partnerships and programs promote opportunities to conserve fossil fuels, improve energy efficiency, recover methane and sequester carbon. The emissions reductions achieved through these initiatives will help the U.S. achieve its intensity goal.
- Clean Energy-Environment State Partnership
- The Clean Energy-Environment State Partnership Program is a voluntary state-federal partnership that encourages states to develop and implement cost-effective clean energy and environmental strategies. These strategies help further both environmental and clean energy goals while achieving public health and economic benefits. Under the Partnership Program, states work across their relevant agencies to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for using existing and new energy policies and programs to promote energy efficiency, clean distributed generation, renewable energy and other clean energy sources that can provide air quality and other benefits.
- Climate Leaders
- Announced in February 2002, Climate Leaders is an EPA partnership program with individual companies to develop long-term, comprehensive climate change strategies. Under this program, partners set corporate-wide greenhouse gas reduction goals and inventory their emissions to measure progress. Since 2002, Climate Leaders has grown to include over 100 corporations whose U.S. emissions represent more than eight percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. As of November 2006, 59 partners have announced their greenhouse-gas reduction goals.
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership
- The CHP Partnership is a voluntary program to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of CHP. CHP is an efficient, clean and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. The Partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments and other stakeholders to support the development of new projects and promote their energy, environmental and economic benefits.
- ENERGY STAR
- In 1992, EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ENERGY STAR has been a joint EPA-Department of Energy program since 1996. Today more than 1,400 manufacturers use the ENERGY STAR in over 40 product categories. EPA also offers the ENERGY STAR partnership to businesses and organizations of all types and sizes including schools, hospitals, hotels, small businesses and congregations and to key industries such as auto manufacturing, petroleum refining and pharmaceuticals. ENERGY STAR delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions and best management practices. ENERGY STAR has successfully delivered energy and cost savings across the country, saving businesses, organizations and consumers approximately $10 billion in 2004. ENERGY STAR also has international partnerships intended to unify voluntary energy-efficiency labeling programs in major global markets and make it easier to participate in the program.
- EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality Voluntary Programs
- Transportation and Air Quality voluntary programs aim to reduce pollution and improve air quality by means of forming partnerships with small and large businesses, citizen groups, industry, manufacturers, trade associations and state and local governments. For example, in February 2004 EPA announced the SmartWay Transport Partnership. The Partnership is a collaborative voluntary program between EPA and the freight industry that will increase the energy efficiency and energy security of our country while significantly reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases. Additional transportation and air quality voluntary programs at EPA include: the Green Vehicle Guide, Voluntary Diesel Retrofit Program, Clean School Bus USA, Best Workplaces for Commuters and It All Adds Up to Cleaner Air.
- Green Power Partnership
- The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary partnership between EPA and organizations that are interested in buying green power. Green power is an environmentally friendly electricity product that is generated from renewable energy sources. Through this program, EPA supports organizations that are buying or planning to buy green power. As a Green Power partner, an organization pledges to replace a portion of its electricity consumption with green power within a year of joining the Partnership. EPA offers credible benchmarks for green power purchases, market information and opportunities for recognition and promotion of leading purchasers.
- High GWP Gas Voluntary Programs
- EPA has a set of voluntary industry partnerships that are substantially reducing U.S. emissions of high global warming potential (high GWP) gases. These synthetic gases - including perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) - are manufactured for commercial use or generated as waste byproducts of industrial operations. Some of these gases have valuable uses as substitutes for ozone depleting substances. However, some species of these gases, while released in small quantities, are extremely potent greenhouse gases with very long atmospheric lifetimes. The high GWP partnership programs involve several industries, including HCFC-22 producers, primary aluminum smelters, semiconductor manufacturers, electric power companies and magnesium smelters and die-casters. These industries are reducing greenhouse gas emissions by developing and implementing cost-effective improvements to their industrial processes. To date, these voluntary programs have achieved significant emission reductions and industry partners are expected to maintain emissions below 1990 levels beyond the year 2010.
- Methane Voluntary Programs
- U.S. industries along with state and local governments collaborate with EPA to promote profitable opportunities for reducing emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. These voluntary programs are designed to overcome a wide range of informational, technical and institutional barriers to reducing methane emissions, while creating profitable activities for the coal, natural gas, petroleum, landfill and agricultural industries. The collective results of EPA’s voluntary methane partnership programs have been substantial. Total U.S. methane emissions in 2003 were more than 10 percent lower than emissions in 1990, in spite of economic growth over that time period. EPA expects that these programs will maintain emissions below 1990 levels in the future due to expanded industry participation and the continuing commitment of the participating companies to identify and implement cost-effective technologies and practices. Additionally, through our participation in the Methane to Markets Partnership, the U.S. is also working towards reducing international methane emissions.
- WasteWise is a voluntary EPA program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and reducing the amount of waste deposited in landfills. WasteWise is a flexible program that allows partners to design their own waste reduction programs tailored to their needs. Waste reduction can save organizations money through reduced purchasing and waste disposal costs. WasteWise provides free technical assistance to help organizations develop, implement and measure their waste reduction activities.
EPA plays a significant role in helping the United States reach its intensity goal through near-term initiatives that encourage voluntary reductions from large corporations, consumers, industrial and commercial buildings and many major industrial sectors.
- Climate VISION Partnership
- In February 2003, several major industrial sectors and the membership of the Business Roundtable committed to work with four U.S. agencies (the Department of Energy, EPA, Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade. Participating industry sectors include oil and gas production, transportation and refining; electricity generation; coal and mineral production and mining; manufacturing (automobiles, cement, iron and steel, magnesium, aluminum, chemicals and semiconductors); railroads; and forestry products. For more information, please visit the Climate Vision Homepage.
- Targeted Incentives for Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Sequestration
- In June 2003, the Secretary of Agriculture announced that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide targeted incentives to encourage wider use of land management practices that remove carbon from the atmosphere or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Through forest and agriculture conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program, USDA is encouraging the increased use of biomass energy, crop and grazing land conservation actions, practices to reduce emissions from agriculture and sustainable forest management. For more information, please visit the USDA Press Release on Targeted Incentives for Greenhouse Gas Sequestration.
- Tax Incentives to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- The Federal government’s fiscal year 2006 budget proposed energy
tax incentives to promote greenhouse gas emission reductions totaling $524
million in fiscal year 2006 and $3.6 billion over 5 years. The incentives
are designed to spur the use of cleaner, renewable energy and more energy-efficient
technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Consistent with the Energy
Policy Act of 2005, 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.
The Energy Policy Act also established new energy efficiency standards for a wide variety of consumer products and commercial appliances and offers tax incentives to encourage their purchase. It also offers tax incentives to consumers to purchase energy-efficient hybrid, clean diesel and fuel cell vehicles. For more information, please see the fact sheet: The Energy Bill: Good For Consumers, The Economy, And The Environment.
- Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
- The Department of Energy (DOE) manages a registry for the voluntary reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and reductions. On February 14, 2002, the President directed the Secretary of Energy, working with the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, and the EPA Administrator, to propose improvements to the current greenhouse gas registry to "enhance measurement accuracy, reliability and verifiability, working with and taking into account emerging domestic and international approaches.” For more information, please visit Enhancing DOE's Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases (1605(b)) Program.
Numerous Federal agencies have launched initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity. These initiatives address market barriers, accelerate the adoption of proven technologies and practices and deliver substantial emissions reductions. The list that follows highlights some of these initiatives:
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