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EPA Proposes National Greenhouse Gas Emission Registry

Power plants, factories, and other businesses that produce high levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide would be required to track and report their emissions, under a new registry system proposed Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"Greenhouse” gases trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere and can contribute to global warming. The majority of greenhouse gas emissions occur through the burning of fossil fuels by manufacturing facilities, refineries, and utility companies. According to an EPA News Release announcing the greenhouse gas emissions registry proposal, “Approximately 13,000 facilities, accounting for about 85 percent to 90 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in the United States, would be covered under the proposal.” These facilities include fossil fuel and chemical suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, and any company with an annual greenhouse gas emission of 25,000 metric tons (equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from about 4,500 cars). According to the EPA, "The vast majority of small businesses would not be required to report their emissions because their emissions fall well below the threshold."

A greenhouse gas emissions reporting system could impact a company's attractiveness to potential investors, CNNMoney.com reports: "Some groups say that the Securities Exchange Commission should now require companies to disclose to investors the liability that carbon dioxide regulation represents to their earnings - as the agency does with lawsuits or other factors that could have a substantial impact on firms' bottom lines - and a registry strengthens their argument."

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