NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Emissions of Greenhouse Gases Declined in 2001

December 23, 2002

A new Energy Department report states emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases fell 1.2 percent last year -- the largest annual decline in more than a decade.

But they traced the drop to last year's unseasonably warm winter and reduced burning of fossil fuels due to the economic slowdown. They said they didn't detect the start of any long-term trend.

  • Greenhouse gas emissions totaled 1.883 billion metric tons of carbon equivalent last year -- compared with a record 1.907 billion in 2000.
  • Overall emissions are 11.9 percent above the 1990 level.
  • This year has been the second warmest in recorded history, according to scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • The Earth's average temperature during 2002 was 58.35 degrees Fahrenheit -- more than one degree warmer than the long-term average 57.2 degrees, according to climate scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Source: Eric Pianin, "Greenhouse Gases Decrease," Washington Post, December 21, 2002.


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