EPA Report: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rise in 2010
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its 17th annual greenhouse gas inventory, and the results are concerning, especially for climate scientists that are clamouring for a reduction in carbon emissions.
According to the EPA, greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% in 2010. This follows two years of emissions reduction by the world's second largest emitter. However, the reversal was not wholly unexpected -- experts said the country's recent trend in lowering emissions was more related to a flattened out economy than to a change in behaviour; as capital found its way back into Americans hands', carbon emissions would rise.
Despite evidence pointing to the unequivocal connection between greenhouse gas emissions and anthropogenic global warming, the United States has seen its emissions grow 10.5% between 1990 and 2010. Only recently was the U.S. displaced as the world's largest contributor to global warming. In 2009, China's voracious energy appetite finally propelled it into the lead as the world's largest emitter.
The EPA reports that 79% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions are sourced from fossil fuel combustion. The transportation sector accounted for 32% of carbon dioxide emissions. In an effort to curb these emissions, the Obama administration has passed new federal regulations for fuel efficiency.
Interestingly, natural gas systems were the largest source of methan emissions in the U.S. in 2010. Natural gas has become the shining star of the U.S. energy industry, as it has been touted as a domestic resource which is readily available and better for the environment than oil and coal. However, these claims are still under debate. Methane is 20% more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
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