In 2021, energy-related carbon dioxide in the United States (CO2) emissions increased by 296 million metric tons (MMt), or 6%, from 2020 levels. This increase follows an increase in economic activity and energy consumption once the first economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have begun to fade. Despite this increase in total emissions, in 2021 they were 274 MMt (5%) below their pre-pandemic level in 2019 and 1,143 MMt (19%) below their historic peak in 2007.
In 2021, the transport and electric power sectors contributed the most to the increase in energy-related CO2 emissions, which increased by 171 MMt (11%) and 103 MMt (7%), respectively, from 2020 levels. Transportation emissions increased due to increased oil consumption in the United States for travel, as COVID-19 restrictions have eased. Emissions from the electric power sector have increased due to increased electricity generation and the higher carbon intensity of electricity generation. In 2021, U.S. electricity sector emissions from coal increased for the first time since 2014.
Energy-related CO in the US industrial and commercial sector2 emissions increased slightly, increasing by 14 MMt (1%) and 8 MMt (4%) respectively, while industrial and commercial activity increased compared to 2020. Residential sector CO2 emissions were stable between 2020 and 2021.
At the fuel level, oil and coal accounted for the bulk of US CO2 emissions increase from 2020 to 2021, increasing by 181 MMt (9%) and 126 MMt (14%) respectively. The increase in oil emissions was largely the result of greater travel demand. US jet fuel emissions increased 27%, motor gasoline emissions increased 9%, and distillate fuel oil (which is primarily consumed as diesel) emissions increased 6%.
Our American CO2 The graph of emissions from energy consumption by source and by sector provides a complete view of energy-related CO in 20212 emissions. US Additional Historical Monthly and Annual Energy CO2 emissions data is available in our Monthly energy balance.
First published on “Today In Energy”. Main contributors: Kevin Nakolan, Michael Francis
Source of graph shown: US Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, April 2022
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