U.S. emissions stay below levels from 2005

January 24, 2012

U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to be 7 percent lower than their 2005 level of nearly 6 billion metric tons in 2020, as the reduction in coal use had led to a continued steady decline, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Reuters reported that the EIA data showed that emissions per capita would fall an average of 1 percent per year from 2005 to 2035, helping the U.S. reduce its total output in the near future.

"Our updated reference case projections show natural gas and renewables gaining an increasing share of U.S. electric power generation, domestic crude oil and natural gas production growing, reliance on imported oil decreasing, U.S. natural gas production exceeding consumption, and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remaining below their 2005 level through 2035," said EIA Acting Administrator Howard Gruenspecht.

Gruenspecht continued that a shift in policy in the U.S. has led to the possibility of lower emission levels.

"These projections reflect increased energy efficiency throughout the economy, updated assessments of energy technologies and domestic energy resources, the influence of evolving consumer preferences, and projected slow economic growth," the administrator said in the report.

According to Reuters, the Obama Administration has set a target under the U.N. for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent lower than 2005 levels by 2020.

Though Congress has been unable to pass comprehensive energy and climate change legislation that would help to ensure the target is met, the news source reported, the administration hopes federal regulations and state emission-reduction programs can help the country achieve the goal.

CNN reported that improvements in efficiency are projected to cut into the growth of electrical demand, helping to reduce the nation's consumption levels. Renewable energy sources are expected to grow from 10 percent of the country's supply in 2010 to more than 27 percent in 2035.

The Department of Energy has targeted several sectors as areas which may help the country lower its total energy consumption. The organization designated innovation HUBs to help achieve this goal.

The HUB for developing and designing energy efficient buildings, the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), seeks to lower consumption levels for structures across the U.S.

Along with lowering the 40 percent total energy consumption that buildings in the U.S. are responsible for, the effort will generate jobs and establish the Greater Philadelphia region as a leader in the sector.