What are GHG emissions?
Greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone, absorb and emit thermal infrared energy, creating the greenhouse effect that raises the average temperature of the Earth's surface. Without these gases, the average temperature would be about -18° C (0°F) instead of the current 15° C (59°F). Since the start of the Industrial Revolution (1750), human activities have increased methane concentration by over 150% and carbon dioxide by over 50%. Carbon dioxide accounts for 3/4 of global warming. It takes thousands of years to cycle out of the atmosphere, while methane causes the most remaining warming, lasting in the atmosphere for an average of 12 years.
As a result of the emissions of these gases, the global surface temperature has risen 1.2° C (2.2°F). If the current emission rates continue, the temperature will surpass 2.0° C (3.6°F) by 2040-2070, the level that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers dangerous. Most carbon dioxide emissions come from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. On the other hand, methane emissions are caused by agriculture. This is why a target has been set for Net-Zero emissions by 2050.
The world is already experiencing the effects of climate change, with more frequent occurrences of drought, heat waves, heavy rain, floods, and landslides, including in Europe. Furthermore, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and losses of biodiversity are also a result of rapid climate changes. For global warming to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius, carbon neutrality by the middle of the century is a must. This goal was established in the Paris Agreement, and was signed by 195 countries. To reach this objective, the European Commission released the European Green Deal in December 2019, intending to make Europe climate neutral by 2050.
Why do we have to report emissions?
In order to reach the goal of keeping global warming at 1.5°C, we must change how we live and our business's operations. It is universally acknowledged that the way we live and work so far is no longer sustainable. We must change our relationship with the environment and create a new system that provides a win-win situation for the climate, nature, and people. The first thing we must do is implement these changes to identify what needs to be done to change. We need to fully and clearly understand where the emissions are coming from and how catastrophic they are. Companies must identify and disclose their emissions. Businesses can significantly mitigate climate change since they are responsible for most of the world's emissions. Unless businesses move towards Government set targets, the objectives can not be achieved.
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP)
The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program that requires significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions to report their emissions to the EPA. The program was established in 2009 as part of the EPA's Climate Change Initiative and was designed to promote transparency and accountability in GHG emissions reporting. The GHGRP requires significant sources of GHG emissions, such as power plants, industrial facilities, and natural gas and petroleum systems, to report their GHG emissions to the EPA annually. The program also requires these sources to submit information on their estimated emissions, emission reduction efforts, and energy consumption. The EPA uses the data collected from the GHGRP to inform national and international climate strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of existing GHG emission reduction programs, and identify areas for further GHG emission reduction efforts.