The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) climate-protection programs prevented 365 million metric tons of US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in 2012, according to a new report by the agency.
EPA’s annual Climate Protection Partnerships report highlights the steps more than 21,000 organizations across the United States have taken to reduce GHG pollution while achieving significant environmental and economic benefits.
The agency says the achievements outlined in the report support the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan by cutting energy waste, encouraging energy efficiency and saving money for American families and businesses.
Americans saved more than $26 billion on their utility bills in 2012 with the help of ENERGY STAR® and prevented GHG emissions equal to the annual electricity use of 35 million homes. Last year, LG announced sales for products that attained EPA’s “Energy Star Most Efficient” designation jumped 75 percent in 2012, saving consumers more than $150 million in utility costs and reducing GHGs by about 930 million pounds over the life of the products.
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Since the Green Power Partnership was introduced in 2001, more than 1,400 organizations have committed to using about 29 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. Intel, Microsoft and Kohl's topped last year’s EPA Green Power list of partner organizations utilizing renewable energy. The Green Power Partnership works with a wide variety of leading organizations — from Fortune 500 companies to local, state and federal governments, and a growing number of colleges and universities. The Top Partner Rankings highlight the annual green power use of leading Green Power Partners within the United States and across individual industry sectors.
The report outlines several other notable achievements:
- More than 450 partners have installed over 5,700 megawatts of new combined heat and power since the Combined Heat and Power Partnership launched in 2001.
- In 2012, EPA’s methane and fluorinated GHG program partners used EPA tools and resources to prevent emissions equal to the annual electricity use from more than 10 million homes.
- More than 21,000 organizations and millions of Americans have partnered with the EPA through the Office of Atmospheric Programs’ climate partnerships and produced significant environmental benefits.
“The urgency to act on climate change is clear,” said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “Through investments in cleaner technologies and energy-efficient practices, EPA’s Climate Protection Partners show us that we can cut the harmful carbon pollution that fuels climate change and protect public health — while continuing to grow a strong, sustainable economy.”
EPA says its climate-protection programs continue to advance GHG reduction goals and deliver greater benefits each year. These benefits will grow as more businesses, public sector institutions, households and others adopt the practices promoted by the climate-protection partnerships. All of these benefits are the result of voluntary actions by individuals, businesses and industry.
As global average temperatures continue to rise, reductions in GHGs are increasingly important to tackle climate change challenges. Every decade since the Industrial Revolution has been hotter than the previous decade, and the 12 hottest years on record have all occurred within the past 15 years, according to the EPA. Scientists have observed changes in precipitation, rising sea level, melting ice and altered weather patterns, including more frequent and intense storms.