U.S. Greenhouse Emissions Slowly Begin to Drop

U.S. Greenhouse Emissions Slowly Begin to Drop

In the EPA's annual national greenhouse gas inventory, the agency has found that overall emissions during 2005 increased by less than one percent from the previous year.

The drop follows a steady increase over the last 15 years, when greenhouse gases climbed 16 percent between 1990 and 2005.

The Department of Energy reports that greenhouse gas emissions have risen an average of 1.2 percent per year each year.

Stephen L. Johnson, the EPA administrator, said the results showed that President Bush's climate policies were taking effect.

In a press statement, Johnson said, "The Bush Administration's unparalleled financial, international and domestic commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is delivering real results. As America's economy continues to grow, our aggressive yet practical strategy is putting us on track to reach President Bush's goal to reduce our nation's greenhouse gas intensity 18 percent by 2012."

But the Energy Department, in a separate report on the country's GHG emissions, said that the smaller growth in emissions might not be a result of White House policy.

"The slow growth in emissions from 2004 to 2005 can be attributed mainly to higher energy prices that suppressed demand, low or negative growth in several energy-intensive industries, and weather-related disruptions," the Energy Department report stated.

Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2005 were equivalent to 7,260 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. The report indicates that overall emissions have grown by 16 percent from 1990 to 2005, while the U.S. economy has grown by 55 percent over the same period.

EPA prepares the annual report in collaboration with experts from multiple federal agencies. This report is the latest in an annual set of reports that the United States submits to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

The inventory tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions at the national level and presents historical emissions from 1990 to 2005. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by "sinks," e.g., through the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation, and soils.

The full report, "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2005 is availabe from the EPA.