Total US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 7,075.6 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2006, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 2005 level according to Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2006, a report released on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Since 1990, US GHG emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent. The 2006 emissions decrease is only the third decline in annual emissions since 1990.
US GHG emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or “US GHG-intensity,” fell from 653 metric tons per million 2000 constant dollars of GDP (MTCO2e/$Million GDP) in 2005 to 625 MTCO2e /$Million GDP in 2006, a decline of 4.2 percent. Since 1990, the annual average decline in GHG-intensity has been 2.0 percent.
Total estimated US GHG emissions in 2006 consisted of 5,934.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (83.8 percent of total emissions), 605.1 MMTCO2e of methane (8.6 percent of total emissions), 378.6 MMTCO2e of nitrous oxide (5.4 percent of total emissions), and 157.6 MMTCO2e of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) (2.2 percent of total emissions).
Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy consumption and industrial processes, which had risen at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent per year from 1990 to 2005, declined by 1.8 percent in 2006. The decline in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2006 can be attributed to a one-half percent decline in overall energy demand and a decrease in the carbon intensity of electricity generation. Favourable weather patterns, where both heating and cooling degree-days were lower in 2006 than 2005, and higher energy prices, were the primary causes of lower total energy consumption.
The decline in carbon intensity of electricity generation was driven by increased use of natural gas, the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and greater reliance on non-fossil fuel energy sources. Methane emissions, meanwhile, decreased by 0.4 percent, while nitrous oxide emissions rose by 2.9 percent. Emissions of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, a group labeled collectively as “high-GWP gases” because their high heat trapping capabilities, fell by 2.2 percent.
President Bush commented: "I was pleased to receive the Energy Information Administration's final report today, which includes US greenhouse gas emissions for 2006. The final report shows that emissions declined 1.5 percent from the 2005 level, while our economy grew 2.9 percent. That means greenhouse gas intensity - how much we emit per unit of economic activity - decreased by 4.2 percent, the largest annual improvement since 1985. This puts us well ahead of the goal I set in 2002 to reduce greenhouse gas intensity by 18 percent by 2012.
My Administration's climate change policy is science-based, encourages research breakthroughs that lead to technology development, encourages global participation, and pursues actions that will help ensure continued economic growth and prosperity for our citizens and for people throughout the world. Since 2001, we have spent almost $37 billion on climate science, technology development, and incentives and international assistance. Recently, we convened representatives of the world's major economies - the largest users of energy and largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, from both developed and developing nations - to discuss a new international approach on energy security and climate change. Our aim is to agree on a detailed contribution for a new global framework in 2008 that would contribute to a global agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by 2009. The United States looks forward to working with partners to reach consensus on a "Bali Roadmap" at the upcoming UN meeting on climate change in Indonesia in December."
Taxes or Carbon Emissions Trading in Post-Kyoto Regimes