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EPA Report: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Grew 1.4% in 2007

carbon-smokestack2Citing an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from fuel and electricity consumption, a draft report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that overall emissions rose 1.4 percent during 2007, as compared to the previous year.

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled about 7,125 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2007, according to “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2007 draft report.”

From 1990 to 2007, overall U.S. emissions have grown 17.1 percent, the report states.

To meet increasing demand for electricity, utilities are burning through more fossil fuels at the same time as hydropower generation decreased 14.2 percent in 2007. America’s reliance on fossil fuels is resulting in more carbon dioxide, accounting for about 79 percent of global warming potential (GWP) weighted emissions since 1990. This has grown slowly, from 78 percent of total GWP-weighted emissions in 1990 to 81 percent in 2007.

Because of high prices at the pump, and warmer winters, emissions from fuel combustion decreased slightly from 2005 to 2006, but emissions from 2006 to 2007 increased at a rate slightly higher than the average growth rate since 1990, according to the report.

The boost from 2006 to 2007 can be attributed to a colder winter and warmer summer, meaning a jump in consumption of heating fuels, as well as an increase in electricity demand. Utilities met the demand by shoveling in 1.8 percent more coal and piping through 10.3 percent more natural gas. Coupled with the 14.2 percent decrease in hydropower generation, these trends resulted in the 1.4 percent increase in emissions in 2007.

The public will have 30 days to comment on the draft, once it is published in the Federal Register. Roxanne Smith, press director at EPA, said it may take two weeks for the Federal Register to publish the draft, meaning public comment may last until mid-April.

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