EIA Reports 3.9-Percent Increase in U.S. Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in 2010

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels were 5,638 million metric tons carbon dioxide (MMTCO2) in 2010, an increase of 3.9 percent from the 2009 level, according to Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2010, an online analysis released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This is the largest percentage increase in U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions since 1988. However emissions are still 6 percent below the 2005 level. Since 1990, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent.

Among the factors that influenced the rise in emissions was an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.0 percent. In addition, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy, measured as energy consumed per dollar of GDP (Energy/GDP), increased by 0.7 percent in 2010. There was also a slight increase in the carbon dioxide intensity of U.S. energy supply (CO2 per unit of energy) in 2010, which is in contrast to a drop of 2.4 percent in 2009. Consumption of coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, rose by 6 percent in 2010 after falling by 12 percent in 2009.

"The 3.9 percent increase in emissions in 2010 was primarily driven by the rebound from the economic downturn experienced in 2008 and 2009. The Reference case in our latest energy outlook projects significantly slower emissions growth over the next decade, averaging 0.2 percent per year," said Acting EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht.

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