EPA: US greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2014

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American greenhouse gas emissions increased by less than 1 percent in 2014, according to new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data released this week. 

In the draft version of the EPA’s annual greenhouse gas report, the agency said emissions in the U.S. increased by 0.9 percent between 2013 and 2014 after a 2.2 percent increase the previous year.

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The EPA blamed the increase on higher fossil fuel consumption in the energy and transportation sectors. 

A cool winter in 2014 lead to more residential and commercial heating needs, the agency said, and a rise in industrial production meant more emissions there. Americans travelled more miles in vehicles, the agency said, which coincided with a small bump in emissions in the transportation sector.

Caron dioxide emissions — which made up 81 percent of total emissions in the U.S. — increased slightly between 2013 and 2014, the second straight annual increase after a small decline between 2011 and 2012, the agency said. 

In all, the U.S. accounted for 6,873 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent in 2014. That figure is still about 7.5 percent less than emissions in 2005, the baseline used for Obama administration greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The draft study released this week comes as the EPA finalizes its annual emissions report, which is due to the United Nations in April.