US emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change rose in 2010, ending a brief downward turn as the world’s largest economy gradually recovers from recession, official data shows.
In a submission to the UN climate organisation, the United States said that its greenhouse gas emissions grew by 3.2 percent in 2010 compared with the previous year after two consecutive year-on-year falls.
The data also showed that the United States – the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China – would need to move aggressively if it seeks to reach President Barack Obama’s targets for tackling climate change.
The Environmental Protection Agency said in the annual report that the rise in emissions was “primarily due to an increase in economic output resulting in an increase in energy consumption across all sectors.”
In what could be considered a chicken-and-egg dilemma in holding back rising temperatures, the agency said Americans burned more coal and gas in 2010 partly because an unusually warm summer raised demand for air conditioning.
US greenhouse gas emissions hit 6.82 billion metric tons in 2010, up from 6.61 billion in 2009, it said. The total was still below the 7.25 billion recorded in 2007 before the onset of the global recession.
The United States emitted a net 5.75 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2010 when factoring in so-called sinks that balance off emissions, such as forests and carbon capture technology.