After two years of increases, greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2015, reducing America’s overall climate pollution to below 1994 levels, according to a draft Environmental Protection Agency report published Tuesday.
The decline in 2015 was mainly because that year’s mild winter reduced demand for heat across the country, and electric power companies were using less coal and more natural gas to generate electricity than in previous years, the report says. Emissions fell 2.2 percent overall.
The draft report is required to be produced annually under an agreement with the United Nations. It is open for public comment and scheduled to be finalized in April, according to an EPA statement.
“These numbers demonstrate the successfulness of the policies that were instituted by the Obama administration — the Clean Power Plan and incentives for renewable energy — to lower domestic carbon emissions,” said Michael Mann, a Penn State University climatologist. “And, this underscores how disastrous it would be if the Trump administration makes good on its threat to undo the progress that was made under the Obama administration.”
The U.S. has made significant progress in cutting its greenhouse gas pollution over the past decade. America’s overall climate pollution peaked in 2007 just before the Great Recession, and the trend has been generally downward ever since. (Emissions grew slightly in 2010, 2013 and 2014.)
The EPA’s report, which quantifies greenhouse gas emissions through 2015, does not reflect more recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy showing how much progress the U.S. is continuing to make in cutting its climate pollution, especially from electric power plants.
Read more at America’s Climate Pollution Is Falling, EPA Report Says