The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released data showing that the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from big facilities in the United States fell by 10 percent over the past two years.

Since 2010, the agency has been collecting greenhouse gas pollution data from almost 8,000 of the country's largest facilities, including oil refineries, power plants, steel mills and landfills, under its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. These plants account for between 85 and 90 percent of the entire greenhouse gas production of the country, the EPA explained.

Last year a total of 3.13 billion metric tons of harmful greenhouse gases were released into the atmosphere. This figure represents a 10-percent decline from 2010 levels — a change driven mostly by the shift towards use of natural gas over coal for power generation, the federal agency stated. Year-on-year, the amount of gases released declined by 4.5 percent, the statistics showed.

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Fossil-fuel fired power plants were the biggest source of harmful greenhouse gases last year, with 1,600 facilities accounting for 40 percent of the total emissions, or more than two million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the EPA said.

The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program aims to raise awareness, provide transparency and support accountability by offering the public high-quality data linked to large facilities' contribution to climate change, commented EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.