U.S. Greenhouse Gases back on the Rise; U.S. Still Leads in Per Capita Pollution

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
W.A. Parish Electric Generating Station southwest of Houston (photo: David J. Phillip, AP)

The news on the global warming front is not good in the United States, which is pumping out more, rather than less, greenhouse gas emissions.


A new study shows that after years of emitting fewer carbon dioxide and other gases, U.S. output went up last year by 2.9%. The research produced by the Global Carbon Project also revealed that the United States remains the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide on a per-person basis.


The U.S. averaged 16.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere for each individual—a rate that’s far ahead of all other nations. China, the second largest per-capita polluter, averages 7.2 metric tons. “They are still nowhere near the U.S. or Australia, but the fact that they have surpassed the EU will be quite surprising to a lot of people,” Dr. Robbie Andrew, from the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Norway, who was involved in the research, told the BBC.


The U.S. emission rate had slowed because of increased use of natural gas in power generation, but coal has recently made a bit of a comeback in that role, causing more carbon to flow into the atmosphere.


Overall, China emits more greenhouse gases than any other nation, even though its annual output for 2013 was a little below “the average growth rate of 2.5 percent over the past decade” because of its slowing economy, The New York Times reported.


“It may take an additional year or two to know if China has turned a corner toward slower emissions growth, or if the runaway pace of recent years will resume,” the Times’ Justin Gillis wrote.


Globally, greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.3% last year, which resulted in record high levels for the planet’s atmosphere.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Global Rise Reported in 2013 Greenhouse Gas Emissions (by Justin Gillis, New York Times)

China’s Per Capita Carbon Emissions Overtake EU’s (by Matt McGrath, BBC News)

Global Carbon Budget (Global Carbon Project)

Obama’s Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases by 30% in 15 Years…10 States just did it in 7 (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Researchers Find U.S. Responsible for 22% of World’s Global Warming (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


anonamouse 9 years ago
For the record, and disregarding the latest pronouncements from the bow-tie clique at EPA, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. A pollutant is a toxic chemical, an "impurity" that "fouls" or "contaminates," per the dictionary. CO2, which constitutes a fraction of one percent of the atmosphere, neither "fouls" nor "contaminates" the air; it is a naturally occurring constituent of air, and it is food for plants: the more CO2 in the air, the more food the planet will produce. The degree to which it contributes to climate variability remains debatable despite the best efforts of Big Science and the mainstream media to kill discussion (to wit: atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise throughout the Aughts, recently topping 400 PPM, so if CO2 itself causes warming, as claimed, why hasn't temperature also zoomed up, you know, making a line on a graph that looks like a hockey stick?) ... Ad hominem attacks are the hallmark of rhetorical desperation: if the facts are dodgy, the hypothesis shaky, attack the other fellow's character. So skeptics are smeared as "climate deniers" (absurd phrase with Inquisitional connotations), and CO2 is labeled a "pollutant" or just "carbon" (you're supposed to mentally conflate CO2 with "soot," which it is not). .... All the UN's climate models have failed, which suggests to me that the models are wrong. Could the current warming trend, which started in the mid nineteenth century (before CO2 began to rise, incidentally) and which is part of a larger cycle that started about nine thousand years ago, simply be natural variability after all? And, if so, for whose benefit is the Great Climate Scare (read Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" for a clue).

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