As the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recently reported, atmospheric CO2 concentrations have risen to record levels. In line with this report is the latest Monthly Energy Review from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finding that U.S. CO2 emissions have reversed their downward trend, showing a significant increase over the past 18 months.
According to the report, CO2 emissions for the first half of 2014 are 2.74 percent higher than for the same period in 2013 and 5.96 percent higher than for the first half of 2012. This reverses the downward trend of energy-related CO2 emissions, which account for 98 percent of the U.S. total, from 2010 through 2012.
Residential sector shows largest increase of CO2 emissions
The largest increase in emissions is from the residential sector, with a 16.73 percent rise in the first half of 2014 as compared to the same period in 2012. This is followed by the commercial sector with a 10.27 percent increase, electric power with 6.89 percent higher emissions and the industrial sector with 3.18 percent more emissions. The transportation sector remained flat, with no increase in emissions in 2014 from 2012 levels.
Carbon dioxide emissions from coal rose by 12.32 percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to that period in 2012. Natural gas and petroleum rose 7.31 percent and 0.81 percent respectively.
Renewable energy sources continue to expand
The latest EIA report continues on past reports, showing an increase in renewable energy capacity in the United States. Energy production from renewable sources – including wind, solar, biofuels, biomass, hydro and geothermal – increased by 3.83 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, and 7.35 percent from 2012. In total, 11.68 percent of the country’s energy production and 9.89 percent of domestic energy consumption comes from renewable sources. Despite the solid and accelerating growth of renewable energy in the U.S., it is not keeping pace with the current trend in CO2 emissions.
“The growth in U.S. CO2 emissions is clear wake-up call that much more needs to be done to accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources, as well as improved energy efficiency, if the nation is to successfully address climate change,” concluded Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign.
The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.
The relevant charts for CO2 emissions in the EIA report are Tables 12.1 – 12.7 while those for renewable energy are Tables 1.1 – 1.3.
Image credit: Ian Britton, courtesy flickr