WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 21st annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (GHG Inventory), today, which presents a national-level overview of annual greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. The inventory shows a nine percent drop in emissions since 2005, and a one percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 from 2013 levels.
Total U.S. greenhouse emissions were 6,108 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014. By sector, power plants were the largest source of emissions, accounting for 30 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas pollution. The transportation sector was the second largest source, at 26 percent. Industry and manufacturing was the third largest source, at 21 percent. As noted in the draft inventory released in February 2016, a one percent increase in total national greenhouse gas emissions between 2013 and 2014 was driven by increased fuel use –in the residential and commercial sectors, largely due to increased demand for heat that winter, and in the transportation sector.
Greenhouse gases are the primary driver of climate change. We are already seeing impacts of climate change in the United States, including warming temperatures, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency or intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These impacts threaten Americans’ health by affecting food safety as well as water and air quality.
Under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, EPA is taking important steps to cut greenhouse gas emissions from a wide range of sectors, including cutting pollution from U.S. power plants; reducing GHGs and increasing fuel efficiency for cars and heavy-duty trucks; reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry through regulatory and voluntary efforts, including the newly launched Methane Challenge program, and regulatory development for both existing and new sources; prohibiting the use of certain HFCs for specific end uses in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives; and increasing energy efficiency through the Energy Star program.
National GHG emissions are going down over the long term, but minor variability year-to-year is to be expected. Over the last decade, there has been tremendous momentum in the energy sector toward low-carbon solutions. Today, the U.S. is generating three times as much wind power, and 30 times as much solar power, as when President Obama took office. The cost of renewable energy is getting cheaper, and growth in the U.S. energy efficiency sector is creating thousands of new jobs and opportunities.
EPA develops the GHG Inventory annually, revising its estimates with new, improved data when available. This year’s inventory incorporates significant new emissions data, from EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and other sources. Data on oil and gas show that methane emissions from the sector are higher than previously estimated. The oil and gas sector is the largest emitting-sector for methane and accounts for a third of total U.S. methane emissions.
The agency prepares the GHG Inventory annually in collaboration with other federal agencies, and submits the report to the Secretariat of the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change every year on April 15. The inventory covers seven key greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride. In addition to tracking U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, the inventory also calculates carbon dioxide that is removed from the atmosphere through the uptake of carbon in forests and other vegetation.
More on the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report:
View and sort the data in EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data Explorer:http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/inventoryexplorer/