By Sustainable City Network
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a draft report this week that indicates the nation's greenhouse gas emissions declined 2.2 percent in 2015, continuing a generally downward trend since U.S. emissions peaked in 2007.
Overall, net emissions in 2015 were 11.6 percent below 2007 levels, according to the report. Except for 2012, when emissions were slightly lower, they have not been this low since 1993.
The decline in recent years has been mostly attributable to reductions in the electric power industry as a result of mild winters and power plants switching their fuel from coal to natural gas. Consumption of electricity decreased slightly in 2015, but power plants still accounted for the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions (29%), followed by transportation (27%), and industries (22%).
"Emissions from industry have in general declined over the past decade, due to a number of factors, including structural changes in the U.S. economy (i.e., shifts from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy), fuel switching, and energy efficiency improvements," according to the report.
As the EPA acknowledges, when manufacturing shifts from the U.S. to another country, like China or Mexico, the carbon emissions follow, which negates some of the gains seen in the U.S.