Knowledge is Power: Mandating Carbon Emissions Data
Mandating the reporting of carbon emissions data is not a new idea. The EPA already requires large corporations to report their emissions. Reporting is also required in Europe under the cap-and-trade system, so if a company sells their products in Europe, they are already reporting their emissions to the governments of whatever countries they sell in.
Currently, reporting is voluntary for small businesses in the United States—and small businesses make up over 99 percent of all businesses in this country. The EPA could easily expand its requirement to small businesses. This would not put an undue burden on small businesses, or any business, for that matter. Greenhouse gas emissions can be reported on a corporate federal tax return, and will usually amount to less than half a page of energy usage data. The EPA can then collect this data from the IRS and can assemble a database of the carbon emissions of every company in the United States.
The EPA does not need to regulate carbon emissions. It does not need to dictate the amount of carbon emissions a company is allowed to have. It simply needs to require that companies report that information.
Because the fact is, information is power. Knowledge is power. But information is futile if it is not put to use. It is pointless if it only exists in books, or in a database. Knowledge is useless if it is only present in the mind. It is ineffective if it only resides in institutions. Only when imagination finds an application for knowledge does it become powerful.
The average American isn’t steeped in the science behind climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Even the basic terminology can be hard for a non-scientist to wrap their head around. For example, within the scientific community, the standard measurement for greenhouse gasses is metric tons. Outside of the scientific community, this measurement is neither universal nor easily understood. It is very difficult to visualize the weight or volume of a gas, floating invisibly in the air.
This goes double in parts of the world, such as the United States, that use the imperial system of measurement rather than metric. The average consumer may know what a twenty-pound tank of propane for a grill looks like, but it is much more difficult to visualize what a metric ton of greenhouse gasses looks like.
If consumers cannot easily understand the measurements used to quantify greenhouse gasses, they will have a hard time understanding and embracing climate change science—and the cause of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. So, carbon emissions data alone is not powerful enough to effect change.
What can unleash the power of the emissions information gathered by the EPA? ICEMAN. ICEMAN is designed to spread knowledge at the individual level. Individual consumers will be able to look at one simple number and know exactly what impact the creation of that product has on the environment. No subjective opinion on whether the product or company is “green;” just simple, straightforward math- and science-based information.
To make the complex measurement of greenhouse gasses easily understandable to consumers everywhere, ICEMAN mathematically converts metric ton measurements of greenhouse gasses into a simple, universal indexing system based on a percentage value of carbon neutral. This index system can be universally understood by any consumer anywhere in the world, regardless of what measurement system they use or their level of knowledge about climate change science.
Right now, nobody really knows the true carbon footprint of any product or company. With the help of mandated carbon emissions reporting, ICEMAN will reveal that information for everyone to see.
 JPMorgan Chase Institute. “Small Economic Activity.” Accessed July 7, 2022. https://www.jpmorganchase.com/institute/research/small-business/small-business-dashboard/economic-activity.