Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the 21st annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, more commonly known as the GHG Inventory. The report reviews greenhouse gas emissions on a nation-wide scale from 1990-2014.
The report tracks emissions and removals by source, economic sector, and type of greenhouse gas by utilizing national energy data, data on agricultural activities, and other national statistics. Additionally, the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program provides data from individual facilities and suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases.
The major findings from the report are as follows:
- In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.
- U.S. emissions increased by 1.0 percent from 2013 to 2014. Recent trends can be attributed to multiple factors driving increased fuel use including year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather and an increase in miles traveled by on-road vehicles.
- Greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 were 9 percent below 2005 levels, however it should be noted that levels are up by 7% from 1990 levels.
Power plants are still the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, at 30% of the total U.S. emissions. Transportation comes in second at 26%, followed by industry and manufacturing at 21%, commercial and residential at 12%, and agriculture at 9%.
President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting pollution from U.S. power plants; reducing GHGs and increasing fuel efficiency for cars and heavy-duty trucks; reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas industry through regulatory and voluntary efforts, including the newly launched Methane Challenge program, and regulatory development for both existing and new sources; prohibiting the use of certain HFCs for specific end uses in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives; and increasing energy efficiency through the Energy Star program.
To view the entire report or individual sections of the report, click here.