The United States, like most countries, hasn’t been tracking emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in a comprehensive way for very long, and its expertise has improved markedly in recent years as more attention has been paid to the potential impacts on the climate.

The continued difficulties in creating a statistically reliable and comparable data set for greenhouse gases is reflected to some extent by how long it takes to compile the annual Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States report. The 2009 data was only finally released in March 2011, and while it contained few surprises given other statistical information that had already been released, that delay makes action on greenhouse gas or even an actionable debate on greenhouse gas emissions difficult.

A decision on what to do about greenhouse gas emissions remains elusive in the energy industry, where the compelling arguments about employment, technological innovation and energy security have taken precedence over the politically sensitive issues surrounding the relationship between energy usage and climate change. More, better data released at a faster speed to decision makers and the industry is one way to help drive a decision that would ease uncertainty surrounding investment, and the attached document is one of the tools that could drive that effort.