US energy review results clash with Obama's Climate Summit speech

Despite an increase of 4% in the production of renewable energy over the past 18 months, new figures have revealed a marked increase in fossil fuel consumption across the US.

Current CO2 levels are 2.74% higher than 2013 and 5.96% higher than 2012

Current CO2 levels are 2.74% higher than 2013 and 5.96% higher than 2012

The latest Monthly Energy Review from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) explains that the release of energy-related emissions - which account for 98% of total US CO2 emissions - had been in decline between 2010 and 2012. But this downward trend has been reversed, with current CO2 levels 2.74% higher than 2013 and 5.96% higher than 2012.

Emissions as a result of coal consumption are 12.32% higher, while those from natural gas and petroleum increased by 7.31% and 0.81% respectively. Emissions from biomass energy rose by 6.49% but accounted for less than 6% of the total emissions from fossil fuels and biomass combined.

CO2 emissions increase by sector:

  • residential - 16.73%
  • electric power - 6.89%
  • industrial - 3.18%
  • transportation - remained the same as 2012

These results may come as a surprise to the public after the Act on Climate Change speech made by Barack Obama last week.

Speaking at the UN Climate Summit, President Obama said: "The United States has made ambitious investments in clean energy and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions.

"Over the past eight years the US has reduced our total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth.

"Five years ago I pledged America would reduce our carbon emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020. America will meet that target. And by early next year, we will put forward our next emission target reflecting our confidence in the ability of our technological entrepreneurs and scientific innovators to lead the way."

VIDEO: Obama's Climate Summit speech

Wake-up call

The rise in CO2 emissions also seems at odds with a renewable energy increase of 7.35% since 2012. Renewable sources now account for 9.89% of overall US energy consumption.

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit, the White House unveiled 50-plus new public and private efforts to boost the country's solar power and energy efficiency industries. The actions are expected to cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through to 2030, but green groups believe the Obama Administration still needs to do more to bring down emissions.

Commenting on the latest figures, Ken Bossang - director of sustainable energy campaign group SUN DAY - said: "The growth in U.S. CO2 emissions is clear wake-up call that much more needs to be done to accelerate the growth of renewable energy sources, as well as improved energy efficiency, if the nation is to successfully address climate change."

Lois Vallely


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