US fails to curb CO2 increases

The Department of Energy has announced that CO2 emissions increased 1.3%, and all greenhouse houses gases by 0.8% in 1999.


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The Department of Energy has announced that CO2 emissions increased 1.3%, and all greenhouse houses gases by 0.8% in 1999. The Department of Energy (DoE) made the announcement on 31 October, one week before the presidential election, with both contenders taking a very different stance on the issue of global warming. Vice President Al Gore has urged Congress to ratify the Kyoto agreement, which the Clinton administration signed, whilst Texas Governor George W. Bush has doubted the existence of global warming and described the Kyoto Conference’s deliberations as “not based on the best science”. Under the Kyoto Agreement, industrialised nations must reduce CO2 emissions by an average of 5.2% over 1990’s levels by 2008-12.

The 1.3% increase to 1,527 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (MMTCe) of CO2 compares to a 0.1% increase in 1998. The DoE report said that 98% of CO2 emissions were the result of the burning of fossil fuel, primarily oil and coal. “Historically, economic growth, the weather, the carbon intensity and energy intensity of the economy, and movements in energy prices have caused year-to-year fluctuations in energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions,” the report said. Total greenhouse gas emissions climbed to 1,833 MMTCe in 1999.

Last year witnessed a 2.9% increase in CO2 emissions from motor vehicles above 1998’s figure. Vehicle emissions accounted for around one-third of the CO2 total, whilst emissions from industrial and residential sources were up less than 1%.

The DoE said that a warmer than average winter in 1999 and increase in the use of nuclear power plants may have kept CO2 emissions from being as much as 29 MMTCe higher.

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