Despite the fact that this is a crucial time in the fight against climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to discontinue the only federal voluntary support program for industries interested in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Created in 2002, the Climate Leaders program is an industry-government partnership that works with companies to develop comprehensive climate change strategies.
In a letter (PDF) released to participating businesses on Wednesday, the EPA said it has determined that climate programs operated by the states and NGOs are now “robust enough” to service organizations that wish to continue to advance their climate leadership through comprehensive reporting (that exceed mandatory reporting requirements) and/or the establishment of facility or corporatelevel GHG reduction goals.
Despite its confidence in the strength of these non-governmental programs, the EPA declined to recommend any of these robust programs to program participants by name.
Many feel that this is the worst possible time to discontinue a centralized program so instrumental in teaching new and established businesses how to implement sustainable practices and achieve accounting transparency.
The Climate Registry, governed and supported by 41 U.S. states and DC, has stepped up to fill the gap left by EPA’s phase-out of its Climate Leaders program. The Registry says its voluntary GHG registry program is the only one in North America supported by state governments (Environmental Leader).