U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increase 2 percent
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
December 19, 2005

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by 2.0 percent in 2004, from 6,983.2 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent in 2003 to 7,122.1 metric tons in 2004, according to Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2004, a report released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The 2004 increase is well below the rate of economic growth of 4.2 percent but above the average annual growth rate of 1.1 percent in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990. Emissions of carbon dioxide and methane increased by 1.7 and 0.9 percent respectively, while emissions of nitrous oxide and engineered gases rose by 5.5 and 9.6 percent respectively. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell from 677 metric tons per million 2000 constant dollars of GDP in 2003 to 662 in 2004, a decline of 2.1 percent, meaning that American industry because more greenhouse gas efficient.

The release comes just over a week after a United Nations conference in Montreal where the United States refused to join any talks for imposing binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases.

Many scientists, supported by increasing amounts of data, believe the dramatic rise of greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution has produced an increase in global temperatures. At 380 parts-per-million, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are at the level highest in 650,000 years.

While the effects of higher temperatures are still poorly understood, scientists are concerned that climate change could have a major impact on weather patterns, the distribution of ice, ecosystems, and ocean currents and sea levels. During this year alone studies have warned that climate change could result in the demise of coral reefs, the shutdown of the Gulf stream and related currents, melting Arctic ice and glaciers, emerging diseases, bitter winters and drought, changes in vegetation, stronger storms and hurricanes, and mass extinction.

Nevertheless, the U.S. has largely refused to aw knowledge these risks and has steadfastly refused to commit to any binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Global warming articles

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Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com (December 19, 2005).

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increase 2 percent.