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GhG Emissions by Congressional District

September 1, 2022

Theme 1: Emissions by Congressional District


The U.S. economy has a high level of regional specialization and economic complexity. This is clear when assessing direct greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions by Congressional districts. According to the U.S. EPA data, 75% of 2.3 billion metric tons of direct CO2e emissions released in 2020 are from Congressional districts represented currently by Republican representatives.

The EPA defines direct GhG emissions as emissions that “are controlled or owned by an organization (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles).” Direct emissions do not include GhG emissions associated with the purchase of utilities regardless if these emissions occur at the facility where they are generated or GHG emissions that are the result of activities indirectly impacted by the organization in its value chain. This dataset from the GHGRP includes only reported direct emissions and represents 85% to 90% of U.S. GhG emissions. The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks is an annual report by the EPA that represents total U.S. emissions and estimates the total greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy using national-level data.

Theme 2: U.S. Economic Complexity Observed in Emissions Data

In 2020, the U.S. economy was the ninth most complex economy globally, evidenced by the dashboard containing 41 industry categories. More than 8,000 facilities represent an est. 85% to 90% of the U.S. GhG emissions and are responsible for greater than 25,000 metric tons CO2e annually. Most small businesses fall below the 25,000 metric ton threshold and therefore do not report to the U.S. EPA.

The U.S. economic complexity can also be viewed through the lens of exports and imports. In 2020, the U.S. leading exports and imports were:


  • Refined Petroleum, $54.8 billion.

  • Petroleum Gas, $34.7 billion.

  • Medical Instruments, $27.7 billion.

  • Gas Turbines, $27.3 billion.

  • Aircraft Parts, $12.5 billion.


  • Cars, $144 billion.

  • Computers, $92.4 billion.

  • Packaged Medicaments, $84.1 billion.

  • Broadcasting Equipment, $82 billion.

  • Motor vehicles; parts and accessories, $62.3B.

graph of the highest direct emission industry for congressional districs

Theme 3: Top Emitting Districts are Republican District

Of the 19 districts that exceeded 19 million metric tons of CO2e, all but two are Republican-led districts.

Theme 4: Top Five Sectors Equal 76% of Emissions 

There are 41 industries presented by the U.S. EPA direct GhG emissions data. According to U.S. EPA data, 76% of direct GhG emissions come from the top 5 sectors:

  • Power plants. 

  • Petroleum and natural gas.

  • Chemicals. 

  • Minerals.

  • Waste management.

Theme 5: Republicans Voting Against Inflation Reduction Act had 72% Emissions in Their Disctricts

The Republicans who voted against the Inflation Reduction Act led districts with 72% of total direct GhG emissions in the US in 2020. As highlighted above, regional GhG emissions differences are partly due to the complex nature of the U.S. economy as some areas are more industrial than others.

Theme 6: Click on Emissions Profiles for Each Congressional District 



The 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP) (part of 40 CFR Part 98) is a mandatory reporting program for GhG sources that in general emit 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2e annually in the U.S. Smaller sources and certain sectors such as the agricultural sector and land use changes are not included in the reporting mechanism. 

Reports are submitted annually and provide data collected during the previous calendar year (i.e., reporting year). Reports are due on March 31 for emissions in the previous calendar year. 

The annual reports are submitted to EPA electronically using an electronic greenhouse gas reporting tool (e-GGRT), which is accessed through the EPA web page noted below. 

EPA verifies the data submitted and does not require third-party verification. Prior to EPA verification, reporters are required to self-certify the data they submit to EPA.

Data collected under the GHGRP must be available to the public unless the data qualify for confidential treatment under the Clean Air Act. EPA typically makes confidentiality determinations under the Clean Air Act on a case-by-case basis. 

41 categories of industry are covered by the EPA reporting rule. 

Direct-emitting facilities report emissions from each source category (rule subpart) included in the GHGRP and these emissions can generally be categorized as either combustion or process emissions. Emissions from fuel combustion comprise carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emitted from combustion of a fossil fuel (e.g., coal, natural gas, petroleum products) or biomass feedstock (e.g., wood, landfill gas). Process emissions generally include emissions from chemical transformation of raw materials and fugitive emissions. The chemical transformation of raw materials often releases greenhouse gases such as CO2, CH4, and N2O. These processes include iron and steel production, cement production, petrochemical production, and nitric acid production, among others. Fugitive emissions refer to emissions of gases due to leaks or other unintended or irregular releases. Fugitive CH4 releases occur from petroleum and natural gas systems and underground coal mines. Fugitive emissions of fluorinated gases occur from industrial gas production, electrical equipment production and use, electronics manufacturing, aluminum production, and magnesium production. These processes typically release hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

All data is sourced from the United States EPA GHGRP, ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World, and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Data was accessed in August 2022. Data from the US EPA GHGRP is from 2020. Congressional district map is the 117th Congressional district map from Living Atlas. Data used is only aggregated publicly available information.

The GHG emission values are calculated by grouping release coordinates into districts in ArcGIS.

Data Sources:

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