A final tally for 2013 will likely show energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at 2 percent above 2012 levels, mostly because of a small increase in coal use for electric power, the Energy Information Administration says.
Coal has regained some market share from natural gas, since a low in April 2012.
Emissions last year were slightly more than 10 percent below 2005 levels, and the EIA calls this a “significant contribution” towards President Obama’s goal of a 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020.
On the other hand, with emissions levels projected to hold steady through 2015 (according to the EIA’s recent Short-Term Energy Outlook), the US likely won’t be getting any closer to that target in the next two years.
And the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Reference case early release, published last month, projected that US energy-related CO2 emissions will reach about 9 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, then rise to 7 percent below 2005 levels by 2040.
Takeaway: The US saw a slight increase in carbon emissions from 2012 to 2013, and isn’t likely to see any improvements in the next two years.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.