Even as renewable energy sources and electric vehicles are starting to see much more market visibility, total US greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010.
According to the newly released 17th Annual Greenhouse Gas Inventory report by the EPA, total US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rose by 3.2% with total CO2 to 3.5%.
The EPA has attributed this spike to energy consumption in all economic sectors, an increase in energy from the growing economy and electricity needed to power air conditioners in the hotter-than-average summer of 2010.
However, the most disconcerting aspect of the report was the total emissions of the six principal GHG. The six gases are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride.
The EPA estimates total emissions were equivalent to 6,822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. In fact, overall emissions have grown by over 10% from 1990 to 2010.
Not surprisingly, the EPA has indicated fossil fuel combustion as the largest contributor at 78% of global warming potential-weighted emissions since 1990. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased at a rate of .7% a year from 1990 to 2010.
In the aforementioned time frame, all transportation emissions rose by 18%. This can be attributed to an increase in demand for travel and car companies dragging their collective feet on offering increased fuel economy standards. The breakdown on the transportation emissions is as follows:
43% Passenger cars
22% Freight trucks
19% Light duty trucks
6% Commercial aircraft