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United States of America Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions

Graph graphic Graphics   Data graphic Data


Based on CO2 emission estimates from fossil-fuel use and cement production for 2008, the United States ranks as the world's second largest national source of fossil fuel-related CO2 emissions behind China with emissions of 1.55 billion metric tons of carbon. Emissions in 2008 decreased 2.7% from the 2007 level. The U.S. has emitted over 90 billion metric tons of carbon since 1800 from fossil-fuel consumption and cement production. U.S. fossil-fuel emissions have doubled since the 1950s but the U.S. share of global emissions has declined from 44% to 19% over the same interval because of higher growth rates in other countries. Gone are the effects of the oil price shocks in the late 1970s, which had a major impact on U.S. emissions during the early 1980s. Per capita values near 5.0 metric tons of carbon per person (4.90 in 2008) are the highest of the industrialized world. In 2008, 40% of U.S. fossil-fuel emissions come from the consumption of petroleum products. The United States was completely reliant on coal until after the Industrial Revolution and now coal usage accounts for approximately 37% of U.S. fossil-fuel CO2 emissions.

Emission estimates for the United States from 1950 to 2008 include emissions from American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wake Island. Until recently, U.S. energy statistics did not include energy activities in these territories and thus users will find historical emission time series for these entities in the database (e.g., Wake Island 1950-2002).

Estimates of Monthly CO2 Emissions and Associated 13C/12C Values from Fossil-Fuel Consumption in the U.S.A.

CITE AS: Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres. 2011. Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2011