Program Areas
Quick Reference
Greenhouse Gases

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The Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Program Area includes the latest guidance and information resources to aid Federal facilities in managing greenhouse gas emissions. This encompasses current guidance, policies, and trends related to climate change/global warming, calculation of carbon footprints, GHG inventories, and the application of offsets to reduce carbon footprints.

Click to access FedCenter's GHG Inventory Reporting module for Federal agencies.

The primary 6 GHGs of concern are: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. The main sources of these gases due to human activity are as follows:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): burning of fossil fuels and deforestation;
  • Methane (CH4): livestock enteric fermentation (i.e. cows) and manure management, paddy rice farming, land use and wetland changes, pipeline losses, and covered vented landfill emissions;
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): these items are of concern from the standpoint of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol;
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs): these are being used in refrigerating units as replacements for CFCs;
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O): this is used for its anesthetic and analgesic effects as well as being used as an oxidizer in rocketry and in motor racing to increase the power output of engines;
  • Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6): used in the electrical industry as a gaseous dielectric medium for high-voltage (35 kV and above) circuit breakers, switchgear, and other electrical equipment, often referred to as SF6. SF6 is also employed as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging. See the DOE Safety Bulletin for more information on SF6.

As part of the Federal agenda on GHG, Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, was signed by President Obama on 19 March 2015.

EO 13693 asks agencies to propose to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) percentage reduction targets for agency-wide reductions of scope 1 and 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by the end of fiscal year 2025 relative to a fiscal year 2008 baseline. Where appropriate, the target shall exclude direct emissions from excluded vehicles and equipment and from electric power produced and sold commercially to other parties as the primary business of the agency. The proposed targets shall be subject to the review and approval of the Chair of CEQ in coordination with the Director of OMB.

Progress on the attainment of these goals will be reported annually to the Chair of CEQ and Director of OMB.

EPA developed the tool Development of Agency Reduction Targets (DARTs) for agencies to use to calculate and submit their scope 1 and 2 GHG emission.

FEMP developed the tool Annual GHG and Sustainability Data Report for agencies to use to develop their comprehensive GHG inventories due to OMB and CEQ by 31 January 2011.

For guidance pertaining to EO 13693 and additional GHG emissions reduction goals related to transportation, please see the Transportation Program Area.

The following definitions from EO 13693 are applicable to this Program Area:

  • Absolute Greenhouse Gas Emissions - total greenhouse gas emissions without normalization for activity levels and includes any allowable consideration of sequestration (EO 13693, Section 19, para a).

  • Agency - an executive agency as defined in section 105 of title 5, United States Code, excluding the Government Accountability Office (EO 13693, Section 19, para b).

  • Federal Facility - any building or collection of buildings, grounds, or structures, as well as any fixture or part thereof, which is owned by the United States or any Federal agency or that is held by the United States or any Federal agency under a lease-acquisition agreement under which the United States or a Federal agency will receive fee simple title under the terms of such agreement without further negotiation (EO 13693, Section 19, para l)

  • Greenhouse Gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, nitrogen triflouride, and sulfur hexafluoride (EO 13693, Section 19, para m).

  • Scope 1, 2, and 3 - (EO 13693, Section 19, para x).
    • Scope 1: direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the agency;
    • Scope 2: direct greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the generation of electricity, heat, or steam purchased by an agency;
    • Scope 3: greenhouse gas emissions from sources not owned or directly controlled by an agency but related to agency activities such as vendor supply chains, delivery and transportation services, and employee travel and commuting.

Please use the links below to quickly jump to the information area needed or scroll down to view all items.

Regulations, Guidance, and Policy
This act was signed into law on August 8, 2005. The Act contains a multitude of provisions covering energy production, distribution, storage, efficiency, conservation, and research. Title XVI of the act addresses climate change.
Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade
19 March 2015
The goal of EO 13693 is to maintain Federal leadership in sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Signed by President Obama on 19 March 2015. Section 16 of this EO revokes the following:
  • Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007;
  • Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009;
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 2, 2011 (Implementation of Energy Savings Projects and Performance-Based Contracting for Energy Savings);
  • Section 1 of Presidential Memorandum of February 21, 2012 (Driving Innovation and Creating Jobs in Rural America through Biobased and Sustainable Product Procurement); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of December 5, 2013 (Federal Leadership on Energy Management); and
  • Presidential Memorandum of May 24, 2011 (Federal Fleet Performance).
Need help understanding Executive Order (EO) 13693? Want to know more about how to take action and turn your building into a high-performance building? The Sustainable Facilities Tool can walk you through EO 13693. Click through the annotated text for definitions, strategies, and links.
These instructions, dated 10 June 2015, provide Federal Executive departments and agencies with clarifying instructions for implementing EO 13693.
This CEQ guidance, dated 17 January 2016, provides direction for calculating and reporting GHG emissions in accordance with E.O. 13693 directives. Agencies shall follow this Guidance to ensure consistent and transparent reporting of Federal GHG emissions. This Guidance is accompanied by appendices that provide more detailed information on inventory reporting, calculation methodologies, and emission factors. This Guidance is not designed for quantifying the reductions from individual GHG mitigation projects, nor does it include strategies for reducing GHG emissions. If an agency identifies a GHG emissions reduction activity or practice that is not covered in this guidance document, and wishes to receive GHG emissions reduction credit for such an activity or practice, the agency should consult with CEQ and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to receive documented approval of the proposed activity or practice and the accounting methodology beforehand.
Revised 4 June 2012, this guidance was affirmed as remaining in effect in the Implementing Instructions for EO 13693. This Guidance serves as the Federal Government's official Greenhouse Gas Protocol and is used by Federal agencies to develop their GHG inventories.
This is a series of information sheets intended to assist potential reporters and others to understand key provisions of the Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Rule. The "General Provisions" information sheet provides an overview of the source categories covered under this rule. The source-specific information sheets and checklists highlight key information on each specific emission category. The monitoring checklist identifies the data needed to monitor starting 1 January 2010.
This report was published 5 October 2010 by the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The report outlines recommendations on how Federal Agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change.
This standard specifies principles and requirements at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals. It includes requirements for the design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organization's GHG inventory.
This standard specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance at the project level for quantification, monitoring and reporting of activities intended to cause greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions or removal enhancements. It includes requirements for planning a GHG project, identifying and selecting GHG sources, sinks and reservoirs relevant to the project and baseline scenario, monitoring, quantifying, documenting and reporting GHG project performance and managing data quality.
This standard specifies principles and requirements and provides guidance for those conducting or managing the validation and/or verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) assertions. It can be applied to organizational or GHG project quantification, including GHG quantification, monitoring and reporting carried out in accordance with ISO 14064-1 or ISO 14064-2. This standard also specifies requirements for selecting GHG validators/verifiers, establishing the level of assurance, objectives, criteria and scope, determining the validation/verification approach, assessing GHG data, information, information systems and controls, evaluating GHG assertions and preparing validation/verification statements.
This standard specifies principles and requirements for bodies that undertake validation or verification of greenhouse gas (GHG) assertions.
This agreement, signed 12 December 2015, identifies global steps to be taken in order to improve the global air quality.
The GRP is an easy-to-follow user's manual that outlines the principles, concepts, calculation methodologies and procedures required for effective participation in the California Registry.
This is a mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states will cap and then reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10% by 2018.
Supporting Information and Tools
Databases/Software Tools
This Excel workbook is a tool to use for comprehensive reporting of fiscal year 2017 for energy, costs, square footage, and associated operational data for calculating and reporting greenhouse gas data. This document is to be used by top-tier federal departments and agencies.
This tool is designed to help you assess whether your facility would be required to report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as required by EPA's Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule. Applicability depends on the source categories located at the facility and, for some source categories, the emission level or production capacity.
EPA's tool for calculating your carbon footprint.
Carbonfund supports third-party validated renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation projects globally that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change. They focus on climate change education, carbon offsets and reductions, and public outreach.
CARROT is the California Registry's greenhouse gas emission calculation and reporting software.
From the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), this is a web-based source for scientifically sound information and advice on the strengths, limitations, and applications of climate data. Experts who construct, evaluate, and compare climate data sets contribute their perspectives and advice on climate data and analysis methods for a broad community of data users. Users may participate by posting comments, questions, and links. NCAR has designed the tool to act as a living repository for the climate community's collective knowledge and expertise on a broad array of observational datasets and their appropriate use in analyses and model evaluation.
eGRID is a comprehensive air emissions database of electric power plants in the United States, including emissions data on nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and mercury. The new edition of eGRID now also provides emissions data on two greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide.
e-GGRT is a web-based system EPA supporting reporting under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP).
This tool includes data reported by the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The data reported by direct emitters provides a "bottom-up" accounting of the major sources of GHG emissions associated with stationary fuel combustion and industrial processes. Well over half of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for in this facility level data set, including nearly complete coverage of major emitting sectors such as power plants and refineries.
This calculator translates rather difficult to understand statements such as "a metric ton of carbon dioxide: into more commonplace terms, such as "is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of X number of cars annually." This equivalency calculator may be useful in communicating a greenhouse gas reduction strategy, reduction targets, or other initiatives aimed at reducing GHG emissions.
This is an array of 24 climate and water information graphics for our region, covering recent and current precipitation, snowpack, drought, streamflow, reservoir, and ENSO conditions, and climate and ENSO forecasts. These graphics are served directly from their providers so that they are automatically updated in the Dashboard as often as the respective provider updates them. The user can select graphics to enlarge to full size, and move them around the Dashboard to compare with other information.
This emission modeling system estimates emissions for on-road and nonroad mobile sources, cover a broad range of pollutants, and allows multiple scale analysis.
This is a climate-visualization website tool from the Interior Department's U.S. Geological Survey. The tool gives citizens and resource managers the opportunity to look at climate-driven impacts on watersheds and map projected changes at the local, regional, state and watershed levels. The tool includes the historical and future climate projections from 30 of the downscaled models for two of the RCP emission scenarios, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The tool also allows users to visualize projected changes in climate (maximum and minimum air temperature and precipitation) and the water balance (snow water equivalent, runoff, soil water storage and evaporative deficit) for any state, county and USGS Hydrologic Units (HUC).
This is a searchable online database that provides a gateway to climate information for the Eastern US. It summarizes needs for climate information as articulated in publications; identifies available data, products and services; and captures planned and on-going projects. The goal is to offer a tool to search for regionally relevant climate information, and to facilitate collaborative opportunities across the network of climate-focused programs and partners in the Eastern US.
A free, desktop computer application which estimates the technology cost for automobile manufacturers to achieve variable fleet-wide levels of vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
This website is a gateway to a broad range of information related to climate in the Pacific Islands. It includes summaries of programs, projects, and activities, as well as products and services. Formed through the collaboration of and contributions from a family of agencies, institutions, and organizations, this website is intended to serve as a shared resource for research scientists, service providers, and decision-makers. The website provides access to a broad range of region specific information related to historical hindcasts and multi-decadal projections. For example, users can search, by region and/or climate variable, and find a list of relevant products along with a brief summary and a direct link to each. This developmental website was put together by representatives of the NOAA National Climatic Data Center working in support of the Pacific Climate Information System. For more information on the site, visit:
This is an online tool developed by EPA to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment. Section 3, paragraph a.1.C of EO 13693 requires monthly performance data be entered into Portfolio Manager for covered buildings.
This tool (TTX Tool) introduces users to the potential impacts of climate change on the water sector within the context of an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and response. The 15 scenarios in the tool include natural hazards, man-made incidents, and potential climate change impacts. Five climate change-related scenarios provide an opportunity for utilities to consider and implement long-term planning measures in order to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change.
The USGCRP recently announced the online availability of a suite of scenarios on climate, sea level rise, land use and land cover, and other conditions. These scenarios were developed as input to the U.S. National Climate Assessment. The scenarios were developed by multiple agencies in consultation with a National Climate Assessment working group whose members include both university-based and federal research scientists.
WARM was developed to assist solid waste managers in determining the GHG impacts of their waste management practices. WARM compares GHG and energy impacts of landfilling, recycling, incineration, composting, and source reduction.
A newsletter produced quarterly by the International Energy Agency (IEA) Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEA GHG). The newsletter aims to provide general information on new developments in the field of greenhouse gas abatement and mitigation.
This website serves as a hub for recent climate-related work at the Academies. It highlights climate studies that have been produced by committees of leading scientists and other experts convened by the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and numerous other entities within the National Research Council. At this site, you will find brief summaries, booklets, videos, and other resources related to these reports. You will also find information about significant ongoing climate activities across the Academies.
Sponsored by the U.S. DOT, the clearinghouse is designed as a one-stop source of information on transportation and climate change issues. It includes information on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, analytic methods and tools, GHG reduction strategies, potential impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure, and approaches for integrating climate change considerations into transportation decision making.
ACCO was founded in August 2008 and incorporated in Washington, DC in January 2009 as a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation. ACCO's mission is advance the knowledge and skills of those dedicated to developing and directing climate change strategies in the public and private sectors, and to establish a flexible and robust forum for collaboration between climate change officers.
A nonprofit collaboration among North American states, provinces, territories and Native Sovereign Nations that sets consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions into a single registry.
a voluntary program to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of CHP. CHP is an efficient, clean and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. The Partnership works closely with energy users, the CHP industry, state and local governments and other stakeholders to support the development of new projects and promote their energy, environmental and economic benefits.
The GHG Institute is a non-profit organization founded in 2007 to build the GHG management infrastructure of the future, with a focus on training and supporting a global community of qualified professionals to work on GHG measurement, accounting, auditing and management.
Lessons Learned
Award Winners
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Case Studies
This report, dated March 2011, presents a series of case studies describing the approaches currently being taken by four water utilities in the United States to assess their vulnerability to climate change. The case studies illustrate different approaches that reflect specific local needs and conditions, existing vulnerabilities, local partnerships, and available information about climate change. Information from these case studies will be useful to water utilities and other members of the water resources community to inform the development of strategies for understanding and responding to climate change. This report was prepared by the National Center for Environmental Assessment's Global Climate Research Staff in the Office of Research and Development.
Published by the U.S. Global Change Research Program in 2009, the report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts in different regions of the U.S. and on various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It's also a report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels.
May 21, 2010, this document was prepared to assist Federal agencies in implementing Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This document outlines the recommended steps for cost-effective creation of a bicycle-friendly environment for employees at and visitors to Federal facilities, thereby reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG). This document was developed by the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive with assistance from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bicycling and Active Transportation.
This compilation presents best practices and lessons learned that are taken from the CRE annual progress report for the Southeastern US Climate Ready Estuaries in 2014.
This document, dated March 2011, provides information on transportation control measures that have been implemented across the country for a variety of purposes, including reducing criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases. The document describes the rocesses used to develop and implement the strategies and, where available, their effectiveness.
This booklet, based on the National Research Council report, "Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts Over Decades to Millennia (2011)", outlines the scientific information that makes it clear that emission reductions today matter in determining impacts that will be experienced over the next few decades and into the coming centuries and millennia. The booklet explains how policy choices can be informed by recent advances in climate science that show the relationships among increasing carbon dioxide, global warming, related physical changes, and resulting impacts.
This document was designed to provide organizations with a regularly updated and easy-to-use set of default emission factors for organizational greenhouse gas reporting. The document includes updated emission factors collated from both EPA's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and Climate Leaders technical guidance. The most recent version of the Emission Factors Hub (April 2014) includes updates to emission factors for stationary and mobile combustion sources, new electricity emission factors from EPA's Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID), and Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
This FEMP website reflects Federal energy and water consumption data and includes links to GHG inventory data, energy use and cost, water use consumption data, and Agency progress on metering goals.
Training, Presentations, and Briefings
Projects can reduce or avoid GHG emissions that cause climate change. These actions can reduce the overall emissions of an organization to create tradable creates to offsets emissions in order to become carbon neutral. This training course covers basics of GHG accounting for projects.
Offered by the Association of Climate Change Officers (ACCO), this course will provide participants with an understanding of the value proposition for GHG management, fundamental accounting principles, disclosure, verification and reporting frameworks, and common practices for leveraging GHG data.
This course covers the basics of GHG accounting for organizations. The course materials are based on the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol Corporate Standard while referring to ISO 14064.
FEMP offers webinars, classroom training, and on-demand training addressing issues such as lighting, energy efficient products, fleet management, renewable energy, greenhouse gases, and water efficiency.
This course will train experts in GHG accounting for energy efficiency projects.
The objective of the course is to provide an understanding of the current status of accounting approaches for forest and other land use projects and to go through a process of how GHG accounting for forest and other land use projects is done.
This course provides comprehensive and detailed guidance on developing forest GHG inventories.
This course will train experts in preparing inventories and emission reduction projects for landfill gas methane sites.
This course provides training to individuals who wish to be involved in the implementation of clean development mechanism (CDM) projects in the technical area TA1.2: Energy generation from renewable energy sources. The course focuses on hydropower and wind energy projects.
This course includes: an overview of existing GHG verification approaches; a step by step process for planning, executing, and completing a GHG verification; and reference case studies.
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Last Updated: January 24, 2018