Carbon Emissions in U.S. Rise 2 Percent Due to Increase in Coal
Carbon dioxide emissions rose two percent in the U.S. last year, according to preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration. Emissions rose largely due to increased coal consumption, the first such rise in U.S. emissions since 2010. Still, the annual emissions remain well below the peak hit in 2007 when emissions hit 6 billion tons.
The U.S. emitted around 5.38 billion tons of CO2 last year from burning fossil fuels, up from 5.27 billion tons in 2012. The rise in emissions is linked to increased coal consumption during the second half of 2013 when rising natural gas prices made coal more competitive. Coal is the world's most carbon-intensive fuel source.
The Obama Administration has pledged to the global community to cut emissions 17 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels. While the U.S. does not have national legislation to cut carbon dioxide emissions, they are falling due to a slower economy, improved energy efficiency, increased renewable energy sources, and coal power being increasingly substituted with natural gas. Up-coming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on new and existing energy plants are expected to further rein-in the nation's coal consumption. Experts say that these new regulations will likely lead to emissions decreasing again.
The U.S. is currently the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, and the world's biggest historical emitter.
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