U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2015 were 12% lower than 2005 levels, primarily due to the country’s power sector exiting coal as fuel and moving to natural gas and renewables, the Energy Information Administration reports.
Overall, fuel-use changes in the power sector accounted for 68% of total energy-related CO2 reductions from 2005 to 2015, EIA said Monday.
“Many of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions in recent history have occurred in the electric power sector because of the decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation,” according to EIA.
The reductions in CO2 emissions are spread out among the different end-use sectors in proportion to the share of total electricity sales to each sector, Kallanish Energy understands.
In the industrial sector, many processes rely on the direct consumption of fossil fuels to produce heat. Most of the energy consumed in the transportation sector is primary energy in the form of gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel.
One of the largest factors in year-to-year fluctuations of energy-related CO2 emissions is the economy. The largest annual decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in the past decade occurred in 2008–09 during the recession.
“Overall, the U.S. economy has grown even as energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen,” according to EIA. Adjusted for inflation, the economy in 2015 was 15% larger than it was in 2005.
On a per-dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) basis, in 2015, the U.S. used 15% less energy per unit of GDP and produced 23% fewer energy-related CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, compared with the energy and emissions per dollar of GDP in 2005.
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