CO2 Stationary Sources


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as directed by statute1, maintains the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). Data reporting began during calendar year 2010 (reported in 2011) and continued with 2011 and 2012 calendar years. Calendar year 2012 was published in September 2013 and serves as the basis for the NATCARB data provided to the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs) for use in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carbon Storage Atlas – Fifth Edition (Atlas V) (2015). In addition to production and importation of fossil fuels and industrial gases, the GHGRP provides annual GHG data, including location and other relevant information for large, stationary direct carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission2 sources in the United States3. For calendar year 2010, data were reported for four categories of stationary direct CO2e emission sources and later increased to nine categories in 2011 and 2012.

The National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographic Information System (NATCARB) data provided to the RCSPs consists of three sets: (1) the working version of the current NATCARB sources geodatabase (Atlas IV, v1303); (2) the 2011 EPA GHGRP database; and (3) the 2012 EPA GHGRP database. In addition, the NATCARB source working version includes emissions for large, stationary sources in western Canada provided by the RCSPs (primarily the PCOR Partnership). Canadian source data is derived primarily from Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) (the year represented by the source data varies). All data in the NATCARB database indicates the vintage (year) and source (EPA, NRCAN, or appropriate RCSP).

All data, metadata, and high resolution .jpgs are available on NATCARB's Data Download and Custom Maps Request webpage. For details on carbon dioxide (CO2) stationary source emission estimates resource by state, see Appendix C of Atlas V.

CO2 Stationary Sources
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CO2 Stationary Sources
There are two types of CO2 emission sources: natural and anthropogenic (manmade). Natural sources include respiration from animals and plants, volcanic eruptions, forest and grass natural fires, decomposition of biomass material (plants and trees), and naturally occurring sources in geologic formations. Anthropogenic sources result from human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation, cement production and other industrial processes, deforestation, agriculture, and changes in natural land usage. Although CO2 emissions from natural sources are estimated to be greater than the anthropogenic sources, natural sources are believed to maintain equilibrium through a process known as the global carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged between the land, ocean, and atmosphere. This natural system keeps CO2 levels in the atmosphere stable over time. Increases in anthropogenic emissions over the last 200 years have led to an overall increase in the concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. While nature's carbon cycle keeps CO2 levels in balance, human activity, mostly resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, produces more CO2 than nature can absorb. One important mitigation option that can help offset this imbalance is carbon capture and storage (CCS).

DOE has documented 6,358 stationary CO2 sources with total annual emissions of approximatively 3,071 million metric tons of CO2.

CO2 Stationary Source Emission Estimates by RCSP/Region*
RCSP/Region Number of Sources CO2 Emissions
(million metric tons per year)
BSCSP 301 115
MGSC 380 267
MRCSP 1,308 604
PCOR** 946 522
SECARB 1,857 1,022
SWP 779 326
WESTCARB** 555 162
U.S. Non-RCSP*** 232 53
Total 6,358 3,071

* Current as of November 2014.
** Totals include Canadian sources identified by the RCSP.
*** As of July 2015, “U.S. Non-RCSP” includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Puerto Rico.

1. Consolidated Appropriation Act (H.R. 2764: Public Law 110-161).
2. CO2e GHGs include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gas.
3. Stationary facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent or more per year are included in the GHGRP.

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