U.S. carbon dioxide emissions increase by 3.1 percent in 2000

November 9, 2001 — Estimated emissions of carbon dioxide in the United States and its territories, which account for more than 80 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, increased by 3.1 percent in 2000, rising from 1,536 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCe) in 1999 to 1,583 MMTCe in 2000, according to “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2000,” a report released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The growth in carbon dioxide emissions, 3.1 percent, was one percentage point below the 4.1 percent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, which account for 98 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions, stood at 1,547 MMTCe, while carbon dioxide emissions from other sources were 36 MMTCe.

The 3.1 percent growth in emissions in 2000 is the second highest growth rate for the 1990 to 2000 period, with only the 3.4-percent growth rate in 1996 being higher, and is well above the average growth rate of 1.6 percent for the 1990 to 2000 time frame.

The high growth in carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to a return to more normal weather, decreased hydroelectric power generation that was replaced by fossil-fuel power generation, and strong economic growth (4.1 percent increase in GDP).

Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions rose by 2.5 percent in 2000, increasing from 1,860 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCe) in 1999 to 1,906 MMTCe in 2000. The 2000 growth rate of 2.5 percent was well above the average annual growth rate of 1.3 percent observed from 1990 to 2000, as well as the 1999 growth rate of 1.3 percent.

Total estimated U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2000 consisted of 1,583 MMTCe of carbon dioxide (83 percent of total emissions), 177 MMTCe of methane (9 percent of total emissions), 99 MMTCe of nitrous oxide (5 percent of total emissions), and 47 MMTCe of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorcarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) (2 percent of total emissions). Detailed information by greenhouse gas includes the following:

“- Estimated methane emissions, the second largest contributor after carbon dioxide to total greenhouse emissions, declined by 1.6 percent, from 180 MMTCe in 1999 to 177 MMTCe in 2000. Since 1990, U.S. methane emissions have declined by about 11 percent.

“- Estimated nitrous oxide emissions in 2000 fell by 0.6 percent, from 100 MMTCe in 1999 to 99 MMTCe in 2000. Nitrous oxide emissions have grown by 5.3 percent since 1990.

+ Emissions of human-made gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexaflouride experienced a 4.5 percent increase (from 45 to 47 MMTCe) between 1999 and 2000. However, these gases as a group have grown by 57.8 percent since 1990.

The report also contains estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption, including emissions from purchased electric power, on a sectoral level:

“- Transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about a third of the total carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption, increased by 3.1 percent in 2000 to 515 MMTCe in 2000, as a healthy economy encouraged travel and the delivery of goods.

“- Carbon dioxide emissions in the residential sector increased by 4.9 percent to 313 MMTCe, while emissions in the commercial sector rose by 5.8 percent to 268 MMTCe in 2000. This growth was driven by a return to more normal weather, higher fossil-fueled power generation and a strong economy.

“- Despite rapid growth of the economy (4.1 percent growth), energy- related industrial carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 remained flat

at 466 MMTCe. This constancy is due in part to slower growth in the energy-intensive industries compared with the non-energy- intensive industries and possible efficiency improvements.

Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. electric power sector in 2000, which are included in the sectoral totals above, are estimated at 642 million metric tons carbon equivalent, 4.7 percent higher than the 1999 level. The 2000 increase is almost double the 1990-2000 average increase of 2.4 percent per year.

Contributing to the relatively large increase in 2000 was a 4.2 percent increase in fossil fuel use for electricity generation, as well as an 11 percent reduction in electricity generation from renewable fuels, including a 14 percent drop in hydroelectric generation.

“Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2000” was prepared by EIA pursuant to section 1605(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. EIA is an independent, policy-neutral agency within the Department of Energy that is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information.

The report is available on EIA’s Web site in Adobe Acrobat PDF format at ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/pub/oiaf/1605/cdrom/pdf/ggrpt/057300.pdf.

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