|Increase in CO2 emissions by state, 1960-2001. Click to enlarge.|
Twenty-eight states more than doubled their carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels between 1960 and 2001, according to a new analysis of government data by the US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG). Increased combustion of oil to fuel cars and light trucks and coal for electricity drove the steep rise in emissions.
Using data compiled by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the new report, called The Carbon Boom, examines trends in carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel combustion nationally, regionally, and by state between 1960 and 2001, the most recent year for which state-by-state data are available.
The report found that nationwide emissions of carbon dioxide nearly doubled between 1960 and 2001, jumping from 2.9 billion metric tons in 1960 to almost 5.7 billion metric tons in 2001, an increase of 95%.
During the same period, real GDP, adjusted for 2000 dollars, almost quadrupled, increasing from $2.560 trillion to $10.048 trillion. Although the economy is becoming less carbon-intensive over time, absolute emissions are still increasing.
The total US increase from 1990—the baseline year for the Kyoto Protocol— to 2001 was 14%.
|Increase in CO2 emissions from oil consumption by state, 1960-2001. Click to enlarge.|
Increased oil and coal combustion each accounted for 40% of the rise in US carbon dioxide emissions between 1960 and 2001. Nationwide, emissions from the combustion of petroleum and petroleum products increased 82% from 1.339 billion metric tons in 1960 to 2.441 billion metric tons in 2001, representing 43% of the total CO2 emissions that year.
According to EIA, carbon dioxide emissions from oil combustion in the transportation sector increased by 151% during the 1960-2001 period.
In every other sector, carbon dioxide emissions from oil combustion peaked in the 1970s, as the economy switched from oil to other fuels and as energy efficiency improved. Specifically, carbon dioxide emissions from oil peaked in 1972 in the residential sector; in 1973 in the commercial sector; in 1978 in the electric power sector; and in 1979 in the industrial sector.
In 1960, the transportation sector accounted for a quarter of US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from all sources; by 2001, the sector contributed nearly one-third (32 percent) of the total.
In 2001, almost all (98 percent) of transportation sector emissions came from the combustion of petroleum products, and about 60 percent of transportation sector emissions resulted from burning gasoline in motor vehicles.
Two of the major factors contributing to the rapid rise in transportation sector carbon dioxide emissions were a dramatic increase in driving and the stagnating fuel economy of US vehicles.—The Carbon Boom
Total vehicle miles travelled (VMT) in the US almost quadrupled during the period, rising from 718,762 million miles in 1960 to 2,797,339 million miles in 2001 (2.8 trillion miles). Per capita VMT more than doubled during the period, increasing from 4,041 miles in 1960 to 9,822 in 2001.
|Increase in total CO2 emissions by state, 1990 (Kyoto baseline)-2001. Click to enlarge.|
Among the states, Texas ranked first in the nation for the highest emissions of carbon dioxide in 2001, releasing 12% of the nation’s total.
The 10 states that experienced the largest overall increases in emissions were Texas, Florida, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Missouri, and Arizona. The 10 states with the largest increases from oil consumption were Texas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio and Washington.