Photo via PANDArchitecture
Emissions in the US keep on risin', according to the EPA's new Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report. Greenhouse gas emissions totaled 7,150,000,000 tons in 2007, showing a 1.4% increase from 2006—bringing the overall rise from 1990 levels up to 17.2%. If that rise keeps constant, we're likely to see a 20% increase by 2010—not exactly good news for many who'd hoped we'd be on a path to emissions reduction by now.
The spike in emissions came mostly from fuel and coal-produced electricity consumption, so it may be the case that we see emissions level off in 2008 because of the high gas prices that year. Then again, perhaps not—more than fossil fuels burned from driving in 2007, the biggest factors were increased heating and cooling demands. According to the report, the three biggest changes from 2006 to 2007 were:
(1)increased demand for heating fuels and electricity due to cooler winter and warmer summer conditions in 2007 than in 2006; (2) increased consumption of fossil fuels to generate electricity; and (3) a significant decrease (14.2 percent) in hydropower generation used to meet this demand.
So American energy consumption habits aren't changing, and CO2 levels are still on the rise—no big surprise there. But still, it's disheartening. Which is why we need climate legislation, and to start cracking down on coal now more than ever.
More on US Greenhouse Gas Emissions
US Sources Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions In 2007: Moving From Data
China To Top U.S. in Greenhouse Gases This Year