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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Another Month, Another Increase in U.S. CO2 Emissions from Energy Use – 8th Month in a Row

SUN DAY CAMPAIGN

FOR EACH OF THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF 2018, U.S. CO2 EMISSIONS FROM ENERGY USE HAVE INCREASED COMPARED TO 2017 LEVELS

 EMISSIONS RISE ALMOST 3%, EXCEEDING EIA PREDICTIONS WHILE U.S. COAL EXPORTS JUMP BY A THIRD,  ADDING TO THE GLOBAL CO2 BURDEN

 Contact:         Ken Bossong, 301-270-6477 x.6 

Washington DC – U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from energy consumption have increased during each of the first eight months of 2018 compared to the corresponding months in 2017, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Further, the latest issue of EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review” (with data through August 31, 2018) reveals that for the first two-thirds of 2018, total CO2 emissions from domestic use of petroleum, natural gas, coal, biomass, geothermal energy, and non-biomass waste were 2.9% higher than for the same period in 2017. For the most recent month reported (i.e., August 2018), CO2 emissions are 3.4% higher than a year earlier. [1]

Those from fossil fuels alone (i.e., coal, petroleum, natural gas) have risen by more than 3.0 percent (i.e., 3.05%) while those from just natural gas zoomed upward by over 12.0% (i.e., 12.03%).

If the current growth rate continues, CO2 emissions from energy consumption in 2018 will be back up to, and perhaps exceed, the level they were at in 2015. This would reverse the downward and encouraging trajectory of the past decade – a trend highlighted by EIA in news releases it recently issued but which were both out-of-date and misleading. [2]

Moreover, the rate at which CO2 emissions are rising has consistently outpaced the increases forecast throughout the year by EIA in its monthly “Short-Term Energy Outlook.” For the first six months of 2018, EIA forecast, on average, an increase of only 1.3% in 2018 CO2 emissions. For the most recent five-month period (i.e., July – November 2018), the average of EIA’s forecasts for the increase in CO2 levels in 2018 rose to 2.2%. Its highest forecast – a 2.5% increase – was issued on November 6. Thus, actual year-to-date emissions are now exceeding EIA’s worst-case prediction. [3]

In addition, beyond CO2 emissions from domestic energy consumption, the U.S. is dramatically increasing its contribution to global emissions through its aggressive coal export program. EIA data reveal that net U.S. coal exports during the first nine months of 2018 have exceeded the levels recorded for each corresponding month in 2017. For the first three-quarters of 2018, coal exports are nearly one-third higher (i.e., 32.9%) than they were in 2017 [82,812 thousand short tons vs. 62,327 thousand short tons]. [4]

Ironically, EIA’s latest data were released just days before the federal government issued its “Fourth National Climate Assessment” which underscores the dire and growing impacts of climate change and the need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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[1] The latest issue of EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review” was released on November 20, 2018.
For the data cited in this news update, see:
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec12_3.pdf
and
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec12_10.pdf

[2] On September 25, 2018 EIA issued a report/news release entitled “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions decreased 0.9% in 2017.” See:

https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/pdf/2017_co2analysis.pdf  ; https://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon

On October 29, 2018 EIA issued a second, similar report/news release entitled “Carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector have declined 28% since 2005.” See:

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37392

[3] Below are links to EIA’s monthly “Short-Term Energy Outlook” reports issued in 2018. The numbers in parenthesis are EIA’s forecasts for the level of increase in CO2 emissions in 2018.

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jan18.pdf (1.7%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/feb18.pdf (1.8%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/mar18.pdf  (1.0%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/apr18.pdf  (0.9%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/may18.pdf  (1.4%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jun18.pdf  (1.1%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/jul18.pdf  (1.8%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/aug18.pdf   (2.0%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/sep18.pdf  (2.3%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/oct18.pdf  (2.2%)

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/archives/nov18.pdf  (2.5%)  [released November 6, 2018]

[4]  See column “net imports” in EIA’s “Monthly Energy Review” at:
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/sec6_3.pdf

 

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