Here’s some good news on the climate change front: Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States fell nearly 10 percent from 2005 to 2012 and dropped 3.4 percent in 2012 alone, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 19th annual emissions tally. The U.S. is now more than halfway toward meeting its 2020 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels.
Image via Desert Vu
In 2012, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled the equivalent of 5.27 billion tons of CO2 – the lowest level since 1994. The EPA attributes the drop to recent trends including “reduced emissions from electricity generation, improvements in fuel efficiency in vehicles with reductions in miles traveled, and year-to-year changes in the prevailing weather.”
Although the long-term trends are encouraging, with U.S. carbon emissions increasing just 5.4 percent since 1990 (the first year of the inventory), 2013 marked the first time since 2010 that carbon emissions increased. Last year CO2 pollution rose by 5.38 billion tons, according to the annual energy and carbon emissions flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Also, the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) category of short-lived climate pollutants (SLPCs) increased a dramatic 309 percent. SLCPs like HFCs and methane contribute more to global warming in the short term than carbon dioxide. Last year President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed for the first time to “phase down the production and consumption of HFCs.” A recently released IPCC report states that reducing SLCPs is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change.
Via Huffington Post