U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined by 3.7 percent in 2013, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UK) reports. The decline in U.S. emissions continues a dramatic drop in U.S. emissions this century, even as global emissions rapidly rise.
The new Tyndall Centre report says there is enough data regarding 2013 carbon dioxide emissions to accurately project emissions for the final two months of the year and for 2013 as a whole. Global emissions will rise by 2.1 percent during 2013, powered mainly by a 5.9 percent increase in China and a 7.7 percent increase in India.
U.S. emissions have declined 14 percent since the year 2000. The decline is even more dramatic since 2007, with U.S. emissions down 16 percent in that short time.
Global emissions continue to rise despite the ongoing decline in U.S. emissions. Global emissions are up 45 percent since 2000, and up 16 percent since 2007.
China now emits approximately double the emissions of the second largest emitter, with China accounting for 27 percent of global emissions and the United States accounting for 14 percent of global emissions. Since the year 2000, China alone is responsible for two-thirds of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions.
The new emissions data confirm the success of free-market emissions reduction programs relative to government-centered restrictions. Environmental activists throughout the world routinely criticize the United States for being one of the few nations to never sign the Kyoto Protocol and pledge to meet its emissions quotas. Nevertheless, emissions data show the United States has reduced more carbon dioxide emissions this century than any other nation. The U.S. emissions decline is due in large part to technological advances in natural gas production and power plant operations.
China and India both signed the Kyoto Protocol, yet carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise rapidly in those two nations and throughout the world.
James M. Taylor is managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism. He is also senior fellow for The Heartland Institute, focusing on energy and environment issues.