USEPA reported this week that total U.S. emissions rose 17.1 percent from 1990 to 2007 (a shade over 1% per year, as a long-term average). Emissions accelerated in the last year of that period, (1.4%). Primary contributors to the higher ending emission rate were: a cooler winter and warmer summer, greater electricity consumption, and a 14.2% fall-off in hydro-electric power generation, which, of course, was made up for with fossil fuel. Drought would be the root cause of lower hydro-power output. And the root cause of drought would be...climate change. Referring to the recent trends table (above, down-loadable in full report as pdf file, here) interesting changes occurred in several categories:
Emissions from iron and steel production way down - went to China. If globalization collapses from the economic downturn and political upheavals, a subsequent recovery will bring those emissions back up in the USA.
Emissions from waste incineration has doubled - lazing out on recycling, definitely. We can do better. Burning trash for energy recovery is not the way to go.
Have a look at the relative significance of key categories. They all add up; but, lets focus on the big items which are most cost-effective to reduce. It's worth your studying this graphic for a bit. Which several would you propose to attack first if you were in a meeting room with Mr. Chu and Ms. Browner?
I'm personally shocked by the significance of C02 emitted from stationary source oil combustion devices. Would than include mainly waste oil burning for heat recovery in industrial boilers, home heating oil, and oil-fired utilities in Florida (which burn a great deal of Venezuelan oil for electricity).
More posts on greenhouse emissions.
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