Share

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Drop, Halfway To 2020 Goals

By Terrell Johnson
Published: April 17, 2014

The United States is pumping less heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere today than it did a decade ago, the Environmental Protection Agency reported this week, a welcome departure from the trend of rapidly accelerating emissions elsewhere in the world's biggest industrialized countries.

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases – like methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and others – fell by 3.4 percent between 2011 and 2012, and have dropped by about 10 percent since 2005, the EPA said Tuesday.

The announcement came in its Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, which the agency submits each year to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the international body charged with assessing the state of the world's climate every few years.

The drop in emissions was due both to short-term weather factors and longer-term shifts in the U.S. energy mix. "The decline ... was driven mostly by power plant operators switching from coal to natural gas, improvements in fuel efficiency for transportation and a warmer winter that cut demand for heating," the Los Angeles Times reported.

After peaking around 2007, U.S. emissions have been on a slight but uninterrupted decline ever since, as this graph provided by the EPA shows:

EPA

U.S. emissions are actually expected to reverse that trend and rise by 2 percent in 2013, ThinkProgress points out, thanks to a slight increase in the use of coal by power plants for electricity generation.

The 10 percent drop in emissions over the past decade represents progress of just over 50 percent toward the goal of reducing U.S. emissions by 17 percent by 2020, outlined in the Obama administration's climate action plan.

See the full report at the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

MORE: The Faces of Climate Change

Way of Life at Risk

Way of Life at Risk

As an extremely low-lying country, surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, Kiribati is at extreme risk from the impacts of human-caused climate change, including sea-level rise and storm surges. (Charly W. Karl/flickr)

  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Sign of the Times
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Vanishing Islands
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Rising Seas
  • Building Resilience
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Life in Kiribati
  • On Borrowed Time?
  • 'All We Could Do Was Relocate'
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Clean Water Threatened
  • Sign of the Times
  • Resettling Away From the Sea
  • Resettling Away From the Sea
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Pacific Partnership
  • Defending Freedom
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Replanting Mangroves
  • Replanting Mangroves
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Life in Kiribati
  • Way of Life at Risk
  • Way of Life at Risk

Featured Blogs

Yangtze Cruise-Ship Disaster: Among the Worst Thunderstorm Tolls on Record?

By Dr. Jeff Masters
June 3, 2015

A picturesque vacation for hundreds of Chinese tourists turned into a nightmare on June 1, when high winds associated with an intense thunderstorm capsized the Oriental Star cruise ship in 50-foot-deep water on the Yangtze River in Hubei Province, southwest of Wuhan, at around 9:30 pm local time. As of Tuesday afternoon, only 14 people had been rescued from about 450 reportedly on board, most of them retirees on a multiday scenic cruise from Nanjing to Chongqing.

Hottest Summers, Coldest Winters for Contiguous U.S.: A Few Years Loom Large

By Christopher C. Burt
May 28, 2015

Keeping track of all-time warmest/coldest daily maximum temperatures and all-time warmest/coldest months on record for any given site is a fairly easy task. However, very few NWS sites provide data concerning what their respective coldest climatological winters (December-February) or hottest climatological summers (June-August) have been. Researching 300 sites in the contiguous U.S. I have put together this summary for such. Below are the methods I used and some of the results, which proved quite interesting.

Please check out the new homepage and tell us what you think!

By Shaun Tanner
April 2, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.