Arstechnica reports on USA’s carbon footprint dropping to 1994 levels.
US carbon emissions hit lowest level since 1994 despite economic growth
Efficiency, drop in manufacturing, and a shift to natural gas all contribute.
Last year, the US saw its lowest carbon emissions since 1994, continuing a downward trend that began in 2008 during the economic crisis. It marks the second year in a row that carbon emissions have dropped despite a growth in gross domestic product. Prior to the last few years, economic growth had been closely tied to increased carbon emissions.
The US Energy Information Administration released the data yesterday after having taken a bit of an unwanted break during the government shutdown. In analyzing the data, it identified a variety of causes for the drop in carbon emissions. As shown above, population size and economic activity both grew last year, which would normally push emissions up. But the energy required for that economic activity dropped, and the carbon intensity of the energy supply dropped as well. Combined, those two factors more than offset the economic growth.
Here is a timeline.
There are more cool graphs in the report. http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/