On Friday, the EPA published its annual greenhouse gas emissions inventory that it submits to the United Nations.
The inventory shows a 9 percent drop in emissions since 2005 and a 1 percent increase in emissions in 2014 from 2013 levels. The report also includes a major revision to its estimates of methane emissions.
While last year’s report suggested that the US’ highest source of methane was cattle and other farm animals — not the oil and gas industry — this year’s says the oil and gas sector is the largest emitting-sector for methane and accounts for a third of total US methane emissions.
The EPA revised total US methane emissions for 2013 from 636.3 million metric tons to 721.5 million metric tons. For 2014, the most recent year in the report, the EPA says methane emissions reached 730.8 million metric tons.
In a call with reporters, Kyle Isakower, American Petroleum Institute vice president of regulatory and economic policy, called the EPA industry flawed. “We’re concerned the administration is putting politics ahead of science by turning the numbers on their head,” Isakower said. “EPA’s inventory has consistently shown a downward trend in emissions even as oil and natural gas production has soared. Somehow, in this year’s inventory, using a flawed new methodology, EPA has erased that progress from its historic data.”
The most recent greenhouse gas inventory comes as the Obama administration has set a goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 percent to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. Last summer the EPA proposed new rules to limit methane emissions from new and modified sources in the oil and gas sector and said this month it will begin developing regulations to limit these releases from existing oil and gas wells.
Meanwhile 41 energy companies — including Duke Energy, National Grid and TransCanada Pipelines — have agreed to voluntarily reduce their methane emissions as part of an EPA partnership program launched last month.
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