For the Record: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Down


A new report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that American greenhouse gas emissions have fallen. To wit:

In 2006, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 7,201.9 Tg CO2 Eq. Overall, total U.S. emissions have risen by 14.1 percent from 1990 to 2006, while the U.S. gross domestic product has increased by 59 percent over the same period (BEA 2007). Emissions fell from 2005 to 2006, decreasing by 1.5 percent (111.8 Tg CO2 Eq.). The following factors were primary contributors to this decrease: (1) compared to 2005, 2006 had warmer winter conditions, which decreased consumption of heating fuels, as well as cooler summer conditions, which reduced demand for electricity, (2) restraint on fuel consumption caused by rising fuel prices, primarily in the transportation sector and (3) increased use of natural gas and renewables in the electric power sector.

And we may be on track for more of the same. As fuel prices rise–surprise–people cut back on how much they burn. Imagine that–the laws of economics actually work!

One futher note: At the Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change earlier this week, economist Richard Rahn from the Institute for Global Economic Growth asserted that higher fuel prices are already encouraging dramatic innovations in energy production and storage. In fact, Rahn is so bullish on new battery technologies that he predicted that the majority of cars offered for sale in 2018 would be all-electric. Since that is so, Rahn added that he wouldn't advise betting on Saudi Arabia's future economic prospects. Keep in mind that transporation accounts for around 20 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions.