Energy-linked carbon emissions jump in 2010, feds say

Last year’s increase — the largest since 1988 — means that overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions also most likely rose in 2010.

That’s because CO2 emissions related to energy use in the commercial, residential, industrial and transportation sectors represent a huge percentage of total U.S. greenhouse gases.

The agency cited several reasons for the increase last year.

From EIA’s summary:

Among the factors that influenced the rise in emissions was an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.0 percent.  In addition, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy, measured as energy consumed per dollar of GDP (Energy/GDP), increased by 0.7 percent in 2010.  There was also a slight increase in the carbon dioxide intensity of U.S. energy supply (CO2 per unit of energy) in 2010, which is in contrast to a drop of 2.4 percent in 2009.  Consumption of coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, rose by 6 percent in 2010 after falling by 12 percent in 2009.

Last year’s jump followed a big drop in energy-linked emissions in 2009, and until 2010 these emissions had been falling for several years after 2007’s peak.

The emissions remain 6 percent below 2005 levels despite the 2010 jump, according to EIA.