This policy brief looks at the rationales for a national greenhouse gas registry in the United States, draws comparisons to other reporting programs and proposals, and makes recommendations on key design questions.
A federal greenhouse gas emissions registry and reporting program
will provide the foundation for effective climate change policies
at the national, regional, state, and local levels. In the context of a
cap-and-trade program, a registry is integral to the program’s success.
A well-designed registry should:
Collect data at the facility level on a mandatory basis;
Collect accurate, complete, transparent, consistent, and verifi ed
data in accordance with international standards;
Collect emissions data from all facilities covered by a cap-andtrade
Provide the infrastructure to support reporting from emission
sources not regulated by a cap-and-trade program to support
other policies and programs;
Collect high-quality emissions data before a cap-and-trade program
Collect information on both direct and indirect emissions;
Harmonize with voluntary corporate-wide registries, such as the
Climate Registry; and
Make all emissions data available to the public.
With the federal government now debating the best
way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a national
scale, policymakers must also address the need to collect the
emissions data necessary to ensure the success of U.S. climate
change policies. The fi rst step in reducing emissions is to
measure them. Without accurate and complete data on the
sources of emissions and the amount they emit, the success
of U.S. climate policies may be compromised.
In December 2007, Congress passed and President Bush
signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008.
The law includes a provision directing the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to require mandatory reporting of greenhouse
gas emissions from appropriate sources in all sectors of
the U.S. economy. This policy brief explains the critical need
for such a mandatory greenhouse gas emissions registry and
reporting program and outlines key design elements to include
in such a registry.