EPA To End Climate Leaders Program


In an unexpected announcement today the EPA has effectively announced the end to its highly successful corporate greenhouse gas reporting program. Industry insiders are shocked and confused by this sudden announcement.

In the announcement, Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy expresses appreciation for the efforts of EPA Climate Leaders' members, which include companies like American Airlines, Applied Materials, Coca Cola Enterprises, and Symantec. She went on to encouraged them to transition to state and non-governmental programs. No specific programs were mentioned but companies will now need to choose to participate in programs such as The Climate Registry or the Carbon Disclosure Project.Here is the full text from the announcement:

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will phase down services the agency offers under its Climate Leaders program over the coming year and encourage participating companies to transition to state or non-governmental programs. Factoring into the agency's plans for the program are the many new developments in regulatory and voluntary programs that address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the first-ever mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule that took effect on January 1, 2010. In addition, several states and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) now offer climate programs that are now robust enough to serve companies in the Climate Leaders program.

As EPA phases down services the agency provides under the program - including technical assistance and setting greenhouse gas reduction goals - the agency will also take steps to assist the transition of the partners into non-federal programs that will allow them to go above and beyond mandatory reporting requirements to meet their goals. The agency will work with these programs to continue to stay involved in important initiatives related to corporate greenhouse gas accounting and to support companies' actions to reduce their GHG emissions, in particular through other EPA programs such as Energy Star and the Green Power Partnership. The agency will also seek new ways to promote, support and recognize climate leadership.

EPA is confident that this transition will allow the agency to realign resources to better assist companies in learning from the emissions data collected under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. This data will facilitate the exchange and application of best practices and innovative technologies across a wide range of industries. EPA's other voluntary programs will remain in place and continue to work with partner organizations to reduce emissions and increase sustainability.

Climate Leaders was started in 2002 as a voluntary program for organizations to complete a corporate-wide greenhouse gas inventory, set a reduction goal and meet that goal.

Pablo Päster is a weekly columnist for TreeHugger.com, an experienced greenhouse gas engineer and the Senior Environmental Program Manager at Hara Software. Send your questions to Pablo(at)TreeHugger.com or submit the via this form and connect to his RSS feed.
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