A Rise in U.S. CO2 Emissions

U.S. energy related carbon dioxide emissions rose about 2% in 2013 after declining for several years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA, the analytical branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, reports that the increase is due primarily because of an increase in coal consumption in power plants last year, regaining market share from natural gas.

The figures are not final, but initial analysis leads the EIA to report the increase in CO2 emissions, underlining the need for vigilance in improving energy efficiency.

The general trend over the last decade is still downward, with U.S. CO2 emissions in 2013 slightly more than 10% below 2005 levels, which is a significant contribution towards the goal of a 17% reduction in emissions from the 2005 level by 2020 adopted by the current U.S. Government..

CO2 emissions from energy activities declined four out of six years since their 2007 peak, and were historically low (12% below the 2005 level) in 2012.

From 2005 to 2013, the key energy-economic drivers of a changing U.S. energy landscape included amongst others:

  • Continuously improving energy efficiency across the economy, including buildings and transportation
  • High energy prices over the past four years, with the exception of natural gas, since about 2010
  • Power sector decarbonization since 2010, as natural gas and renewables displaced coal

This increase in emissions proves that to combat climate change, energy saving and efficiency still needs to be on the top of the agenda for national and state governments.

Picture of St Clair coal fired power plant, Michigan, Cgord at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 14th January 2014

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