Energy Companies Fail to Track Carbon

by | Feb 1, 2011

Most energy and utility companies do not have any systems in place to measure their carbon emissions, according to a survey.

A poll by software provider Enviance of attendees at the Energy, Utility and Environment Conference (EUEC) found that 58 percent of those surveyed have no system in place to record carbon emissions – down only slightly from 61 percent last year.

This year’s survey also found that fewer respondents are concerned about the possibility of legislation introducing a price on carbon, with 65 percent saying there would be no effect on them or they have no plans to address carbon pricing, up from 53 percent in 2010.

“The very small 3 percent drop in the percentage of companies that have no GHG emissions tracking system in place, and the dramatic rise in the percentage of companies reporting no plans to deal with any price or tax on carbon, suggest that neither the mandatory GHG reporting rule nor the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance on GHG reporting is causing much of a change in industry,” said Lawrence Goldenhersh, president and CEO of Enviance.

The SEC has said that companies should consider reporting the impacts that current and pending legislation, international accords and climate change itself may have on their business. Companies must warn investors of any serious risks to their business from climate change.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules set late last year require oil and gas facilities to report on their greenhouse gas emissions, with reports due this year on March 31.

“It will be interesting to see whether the advent of cap and trade in California in 2012—setting a price on carbon in the eighth largest economy in the world—will alter what companies consider necessary to meet the analysis and reporting requirements imposed by the SEC,” Goldenhersh said.

In other survey findings, 84 percent of respondents said they monitor changes to EPA regulations “as they happen”, while seven percent said they monitor “when we need to”.

Over half – 55 percent – of respondents said that water emissions have an equal priority to carbon emissions in their organization, with only 15 percent saying that carbon emissions are of greater priority.

Picture credit: Nayu Kim

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