The U.S. industrial market was the only sector in the U.S. that reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2008, according to the American Materials Manufacturing Alliance (AMMA), a group of energy-intensive industries. GHG emissions all rose in the commercial, electricity, residential, transportation and agricultural sectors over the same time period.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. industrial GHG emissions fell more than three percent in 2009, primarily due to lower coal and petroleum consumption. The sector’s energy consumption dropped 9.9 percent.
The average decline in energy intensity from 2000 to 2008 was 2.0 percent.
Between 1990 and 2008, the U.S. industrial sector’s GHG emissions fell 5.9 percent, which AMMA attributes primarily to energy efficiency improvements. In comparison, commercial GHG emissions rose by 36.9 percent, electricity increased by 30 percent, residential grew by 27.3 percent, transportation increased 21.6 percent and agriculture increased 11.3 percent, according to the EIA report.
The steel industry has reduced its GHG emissions by 33 percent since 1990 despite higher production prior to the recession, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. The industry launched its “green” campaign last year as part of the industry’s goal to reduce CO2 emissions.
The American Forest and Paper Association also reports that the forest products industry has cut GHG emissions per ton of product by 14 percent since 2000.
Energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell by 7 percent or 405 million metric tons — the largest drop over the past 60 years ago. EIA attributes the huge drop partly to the economic downturn.