A Look at CO2 Emissions in the U.S.

CO2 emissions seem to be reaching their peak on a global scale as a multitude of countries decrease their emissions, a huge accomplishment that is not talked about enough in the fear that everyone may become comfortable with that thought. However, this article will look at these successes and where they are coming from.

The USA has decreased its CO2 emissions by 13.82% since 2005 when it hit its peak. This is a substantial decrease, but it is still smaller compared to many other countries like Denmark, the UK, Germany, and more. Especially considering the amount of emissions that come from the U.S. yearly. See the table above that shows the relative change since 1990.

Even though other countries, and entire continents, are doing better than the U.S., something is working, and that is mostly the sources of the electric grid and a cleaner industry. Carbon emissions from electricity production have dropped 12.1% since 1990, and 8.3% from industry since then.

Electricity production from coal has decreased by more than 1.2 trillion kWh per year since 2005, which was about 60%. That substantial decrease has made a significant impact in CO2 emissions from the U.S. This was mostly replaced by renewable energy sources and natural gas, two significantly cleaner energy sources. See the table below for that satisfaction, and where more improvement can be made.

 

To conclude, the United States has decreased CO2 emissions over the past 16 years, but is still behind many countries, especially in Europe. New energy sources have significantly contributed to this reduction, and there is still room for improvement. In other words, the U.S. is on the right track to be a big contributor in the fight against climate change, but improvement is still needed, and action must be taken, especially to catch up.

 

Written by Zein Tynon, Class of 2024

Sources:

Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, April 6). Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data Explorer. EPA. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://cfpub.epa.gov/ghgdata/inventoryexplorer/#allsectors/allsectors/allgas/econsect/all.

Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (2020, May 11). CO2 emissions. Our World in Data. Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://ourworldindata.org/co2-emissions.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – independent statistics and analysis. Electricity generation, capacity, and sales in the United States – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (2021, March 18). Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/electricity-in-the-us-generation-capacity-and-sales.php.

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