CO2 Emissions: Some Good News


By Jennifer Cregar

Surprise! There’s some good news about carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: the International Energy Agency reports that CO2 emissions from global energy consumption remained flat in 2016 for the third year in a row. Emissions are static despite overall growth in global energy consumption and the economy, thanks in part because of increased renewable energy production, switching electricity generation from coal to natural gas, and energy efficiency gains.

In the U.S., energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 3% from 2015 to 2016, while the economy grew by 1.6%. Last year’s U.S. energy sector CO2 emissions were at the lowest level since 1992.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California show an even sharper decline. Total statewide GHG emissions decreased by 9.4% between 2004, when emission levels peaked, and 2014, the most recent year for which data is available. Ongoing shifts to renewable energy sources in the electricity sector drive much of California’s strong GHG reduction performance. California’s commitment to energy efficiency has also helped keep GHG emissions in check by limiting increases in electricity consumption to less than 1% per year since 2000, despite a higher average population growth rate of around 1% per year over the same period.

So, what will you do this Earth Month to help maintain this positive trend of declining emissions? Head on over to the emPower Central Coast Facebook page and share your energy-saving, carbon-cutting tips.