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U.S. Emissions Up 3.2% As Economy Expands, Summers Heat Up

U.S. GHG emissions in 2010 rose by 3.2 percent from 2009, due to the expanding economy and an increased demand for air conditioning caused by warmer summer weather, the EPA said.

Energy consumption rose across all economic sectors in 2010, and total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride – were equivalent to 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the agency said in a report, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2010.

The report said that CO2 from fossil fuel combustion has accounted for about 78 percent of weighted emissions since 1990, and historically, changes in emissions from fossil fuel combustion have been the dominant factor affecting U.S. emission trends. GHG emissions have grown by more than 10 percent from 1990 to 2010, an average annual rate of increase of about 0.5 percent.

The U.S. is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is required to file the comprehensive emissions report each year.

President Obama has promised the UN that domestic greenhouse gas emissions will be “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, met with a combination of some government policy steps, energy innovations and low-carbon production techniques, according to the New York Times.

Emissions in 2010 were five percent below those of 2005, so coordinated efforts by government and industry put the goal in reach, the paper said.

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