At 7,053 million metric tons, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.2 percent in 2008, when compared to 2007, according to a government report.
Record oil prices and lower economic activity in 2008 led to the decline, which includes a 2.9 decrease in energy-related CO2 emissions, according to “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2008” (PDF), a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Also, lower electricity demand and a lower carbon intensity for what electricity was produced helped propel the decline.
Methane emissions increased 2 percent and nitrous oxide emissions rose by 0.1 percent, accounting in part for the difference between the total emissions decline of 2.2 percent and the 2.9 percent decrease in energy-related emissions. Also, emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6 rose by 3.1 percent.
CO2 emissions made up 5,839.3 million metric tons, or about 82.8 percent of the total.
Petroleum accounted for 41.9 percent of the energy related emissions, or 2,436 million metric tons. Coal accounted for 36.5 percent, or 2,125.2 million metric tons, while natural gas accounted for 21.4 percent, or 1,241.8 million metric tons.
Electric power accounted for 40.6 percent of all energy related emissions, compared to 33.1 percent for transportation and 26.3 percent for residential, commercial and industry.
In October, EIA predicted CO2 emissions from the commercial and residential sectors to be 29 million metric tons lower in 2009 than in 2008. At the time, EIA said emissions from fossil fuels in 2009 would be 5.9 percent below the 2008 level.
On the political front, meanwhile, 20 Congressional Republicans sent a letter to President Obama Dec. 4 expressing “grave concern” that the U.S. might overcommit to GHG emissions reductions at the upcoming Copenhagen talks, AP reports (via Google).
“Only a treaty ratified by the United States Senate or legislation agreed to by Congress may commit our nation to any mandatory emissions reduction program,” they wrote.