Record-setting 5.8% Decline In Greenhouse Gas Emissions In 2009

May 2011, Vol. 238 No. 5

Total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 6,576 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2009, a decrease of 5.8% from the 2008 level, according to EIA’s report on Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009.

Since 1990, GHG emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.4%. This is the largest percentage decline in total U.S. GHG emissions since 1990, the starting year for EIA’s data on total GHG emissions.

“The large decline in emissions in 2009 was driven by the economic downturn, combined with an ongoing trend toward a less energy-intensive economy and a decrease in the carbon-intensity of the energy supply,” said EIA Administrator Richard Newell.

Emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide fell 7.1% in 2009, having risen at an average annual rate of 0.8% from 1990-2008. Among the factors that influenced the emissions decrease was a decline in Gross Domestic Product of 2.6%. The energy intensity of the U.S. economy, measured as energy consumed per dollar of GDP, fell 2.2% in 2009.

The full report Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009 can be found at: http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/ghg_report/