The latest annual report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which charts gas emissions into the atmosphere, reveals that in 2009 overall emissions had increased by 7.3% since 1990. The good news is that greenhouse gas emissions were at their lowest in 2009 since 1995.
The report, an inventory of green house and emissions and sinks between 1990 and 2009, also reveals that emissions decreased 6.1 per cent in relation to 2008. The organization believes this is due to a decrease in fuel and electricity consumption across all U.S. economic sectors.
The six main greenhouse gases included in the analysis are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride and together they equal to 6,633 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Besides accounting for emissions, the inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks,” e.g., through the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation and soils.
The document is prepared in collaboration with federal agencies and is the latest submitted by the United States to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC’s job is to set an overall global framework for nations to address climate change. The final report took into consideration comments received from stakeholders across the country.
According to the Wikipedia entry on American population, between 1990 and 2010 the number of people in the U.S. grew by 23%, which means that emissions grew at a proportionally lower pace. This could be due to a combination of factors, including the economic slowdown and the expanded use of renewable energy.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.