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U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Declined 1.5 Percent in 2006

December 7, 2007

WASHINGTON – The Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent statistical and analytical agency in the U. S. Department of Energy, released an annual report, titled Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2006, on Nov. 28, in PDF format. This annual report (and the inventory on which it is based) is prepared the EIA’s Office of Integrated Analysis and Forecasting.

The inventory is pursuant to requirements under Section 1605(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT). Section 1605(a) of EPACT requires that the EIA , “shall develop, based on data available to, and obtained by the Energy Information Administration, an inventory of national aggregate emissions of each greenhouse gas for each calendar year of the baseline period of 1987 through 1990. The Administrator of the Energy Information Administration shall annually update and analyze such inventory using available data.”

The first report in this series, Emissions of Greenhouse Gases 1985-1990, was published in Sept. 1993. This report, the 15th annual report, presents the EIA’s latest inventory, as required by law, of emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and other greenhouse gases.

Total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 7,075.6 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2006, a decrease of 1.5 percent from the 2005 level. Since 1990, U.S. GHG emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent. The 2006 emissions decrease is only the third decline in annual emissions since 1990.

Emissions of carbon dioxide from energy consumption and industrial processes, which had risen at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent per year from 1990 to 2005, declined by 1.8 percent in 2006. The decline in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2006 can be attributed to a one-half percent decline in overall energy demand and a decrease in the carbon intensity of electricity generation. Favorable weather patterns, where both heating and cooling degree-days were lower in 2006 than 2005, and higher energy prices, were the primary causes of lower total energy consumption.

Methane emissions, meanwhile, decreased by 0.4 percent, while nitrous oxide emissions rose by 2.9 percent. Emissions of HFCs, PFCs, and SF6, a group labeled collectively as “high-GWP gases” because their high heat trapping capabilities, fell by 2.2 percent.

The full report can be found on EIA’s web site at

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