WASHINGTON — U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased 2 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, according to the latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA attributed the increase to the growing economy, declining coal prices, and a cold winter.
Emissions grew in 2013 across nearly all sectors, including electricity generation, vehicle miles traveled, and industrial production. Power plants accounted for 31 percent of all GHG emissions, with transportation accounting for 27 percent, and industry and manufacturing contributing 21 percent.
In contrast to the latest results, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped 9 percent throughout the last 10 years. In 2013, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,673 million metric tons (MMT). U.S. emissions have increased by 5.9 percent from 1990 to 2013, and emissions increased from 2012 to 2013 by 2 percent (127.9 MMT CO2 equivalent). The 2012-2013 increase was due to a rise in the carbon intensity of fuels consumed to generate electricity due to an increase in coal consumption with decreased natural gas consumption. Additionally, relatively cool winter conditions led to an increase in fuels for the residential and commercial sectors for heating. In 2013, there also was an increase in industrial production across multiple sectors resulting in increases in industrial sector emissions. Lastly, transportation emissions increased as a result of a small increase in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and fuel use across on-road transportation modes. Since 1990, U.S. emissions have increased at an average annual rate of 0.3.
The inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks tracks total annual U.S. emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas dating back to 1990. The EPA uses national energy data, data on national agricultural activities, and other national statistics to provide a comprehensive accounting of total greenhouse gas emissions for all man-made sources in the U.S. The EPA also collects greenhouse gas emissions data from individual facilities and suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases through the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/EPAInventoryReport.
Publication date: 5/18/2015