US chems withhold judgement on federal greenhouse gas changes

03 April 2013 21:59  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US chemical sector officials on Wednesday welcomed some of the changes made to global warming standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but reserved judgement on others pending review.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said that while it supported “some of the changes EPA made”, the council is “still reviewing other proposed changes”.

The EPA said that it wants to amend its existing greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting rule to reflect changes in the reported impact on global warming from specific substances.

The agency said that under the Clean Air Act (CAA) it seeks to revise the global warming potentials (GWP) for a variety of gases and other substances and make some additions to the list of GWP compounds.

Chemical manufacturers, along with other industries such as power companies, aluminium producers, cement and glass production firms among others, must report their emissions of GHG to the agency annually using criteria set by the EPA for each specific gas or compound.

The agency assigns a GWP value to substances based on their heat-trapping ability and the atmospheric lifetime of each greenhouse gas over a 100-year time horizon.

The EPA said it is seeking to amend the values for global warming potential of various substances in order to match GWP measures set in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

The agency said that its proposed changes – which will increase the global warming effect of some substances and reduce that of others – “includes information provided by chemical manufacturers currently reporting under the [greenhouse gas reporting requirements] as well as published literature”.

Council spokeswoman Jennifer Scott said that the EPA asked some ACC member firms for information as the agency was working up the proposed changes to the global warming potential measures.

“As we often do, ACC members worked collaboratively with EPA to provide the information,” she said.

At first glance, Scott said, the council supports some of the proposed changes. However, she added, “We are still reviewing other proposed changes to determine whether we support them.”

The EPA’s proposed changes to its GWP values run to some 340 pages.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) said that its policy experts were still combing through the proposal and could not offer immediate comment.

However, said an API spokesman, “EPA’s changes are extensive and certainly not in the category of ‘routine’.”

The EPA said it would accept public comments on the proposed changes until mid-May.

By: Joe Kamalick
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