Jun 062007

NPR has an interesting story about trying to find the biggest greenhouse gas producer in the US. Canada makes that easy, they have a reporting system. But there is no mandatory reporting system in the US. It seems a bit silly to say the US is serious about greenhouse gas reduction, when EPA doesn’t even know who is producing it. Clearly we need a reporting system.

While the story was good, I found the goal a bit flawed. Even if you do find the biggest producers, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are the ones that need the most attention. For example, the top producer in Canada is a coal fired power plant. Probably the same in the US. But that top spot doesn’t take into account how many people are being serviced by that power plant. If the plant is huge, and a lot of people get power from it, it is going to understandably go up on the big list. But it could be that the plant is also a model of efficiency compared to other plants, and the per capita generation is much better than other power generators.

While lowering of all emissions is the goal, what we really need is some sort of public and broad measurement of gas output per work unit. The efficient businesses should get credit, and the wasteful ones a healthy heaping of scrutiny or regulation.

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