U.S. carbon emissions up in 2007

There is a new report from EIA on U.S. carbon emissions, and it is fascinating to study. Here are a few tidbits, but the whole EIA webpage is worth browsing.

Eia Us CarbonU.S. emissions were up 1.6% from 2007. This belies the statements from wingnuts who last year were looking at this graph (without 2007 data) and saying the U.S. was the only country that decreased emissions in 2006, as if that were the beginning of a long-term trend of emission reductions. Obviously wrong.

Eia Primary EnergyIt’s also interesting to look at primary energy use by sector, and see that electricity is the largest. The usual pie charts of energy use by end-use sector show that transportation is about one-half, but looking at the emissions by primary energy use reminds us how important electricity is.

Eia ResidentialFinally, residential emissions grew the most, 4.4%, which EIA seems to attribute to the greater heating and cooling degree days. But I think a good deal of it is electronics.

Other observations, quoted from the EIA press release:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from the residential and commercial sectors increased by 4.4 percent and 4.3 percent respectively in 2007, as heating degree-days rose by 6.7 percent and cooling degree-days rose by 2.6 percent. The commercial sector includes all non-residential, non-industrial buildings, such as stores, office buildings, schools, hospitals, and government buildings.
  • Industrial carbon dioxide emissions fell by 0.1 percent in 2007, continuing a trend of falling emissions since 2004.
  • Transportation-related emissions, which account for about a third of total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, increased by 0.1 percent in 2007.
  • With combined industrial and transportation emissions essentially flat, all the growth in emissions came from the residential and commercial sectors.
  • Emissions from the direct use of natural gas in the residential sector grew by 8.3 percent, while growth in residential electricity use and changes in the generation mix caused emissions associated with the production of electricity used in residences to grow by 3.9 percent.
  • Emissions from the direct use of natural gas in the commercial sector grew by 6.1 percent, while growth in commercial electricity use and changes in the generation mix caused emissions associated with the production of electricity used in the commercial sector to grow by 4.2 percent.
  • When electric power sector emissions are considered as a whole rather than being attributed to the end-use sectors that consume electricity, they are the largest single source of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, representing 40 percent of total emissions. In 2007, emissions from the electric power sector increased by about 71 MMTCO2 or 3 percent, while power generation increased by 2.5 percent. The increase in the emissions intensity of generation of 0.5 percent reflects, among other factors, a decline in non-fossil-fueled generation, as increased generation from wind and nuclear power of 6 and 19 billion kilowatthours, respectively, did not offset a drop in hydro-generation of 40 billion kilowatthours (kWh).
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