Automakers, fuel suppliers and engine builders would be among the organizations that would have to submit annual reports on their CO2 (and other greenhouse gas) emissions to the EPA, should a new proposed rule go through. In all, the 13,000 facilities that account for 85-90 percent of the GHGs emitted in the U.S. would be affected. To understand the baseline issue, here's how the EPA explains the proposed rule:

In general, EPA proposes that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

The idea is to give the EPA an idea of just how much of these greenhouse gases is created in the U.S., which will make it possible to "confront climate change ... guided by the best possible information," as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson put it. "This is a critical step toward helping us better protect our health and environment – all without placing an onerous burden on our nation's small businesses." The EPA is looking into regulating CO2 emissions for the first time ever.

The rule calls for emitters to start submitting reports in 2011 for 2010 emissions. Vehicle and engine manufacturers would have to start reporting emissions for 2011 model year vehicles. The EPA proposed the rule today, and now the public has 60 days (give or take) to submit comments. I'm sure these next few months will be pretty full of opinions on this issue.

[Source: EPA]
Photo by seanmcgrath. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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