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U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up 1.7 Percent in 2004

Published by MAC on 2006-03-01

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Up 1.7 Percent in 2004


1st March 2006

Overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions during 2004 increased by 1.7 percent from the previous year, according to a newly released annual report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This increase was due primarily to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions associated with fuel and electricity consumption, the agency said.

The EPA is seeking public comment on the draft report "Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2004." Comments are invited through March 29, 2006.

The EPA prepared the annual report required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in collaboration with experts from other federal agencies. The report finds that total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2004 were equivalent to 7,075 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. Emissions of these gases form a layer in the atmosphere, trapping heat from the Sun close to the planet, raising its surface temperature.

Combustion of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - was the largest source of emissions, accounting for 80 percent of the total.

Overall, emissions have grown by 15.8 percent from 1990 to 2004, while the U.S. economy has grown by 51 percent over the same period, the EPA reports.

After responding to public comments, the United States will submit the final inventory report to the UNFCCC Secretariat, fulfilling its annual requirement as a party to the international treaty on climate change.

The treaty, ratified by the United States in 1992, sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.

The report is available at:

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