New EIA data shows USA inadvertently meets 1997 Kyoto protocol CO2 emission reductions without ever signing on thanks to a stagnant economy. Lowest level of CO2 emissions since 1994.
In 2012, a surprising twist and without ever ratifying it, the United States became the first major industrialized nation in the world to meet the United Nation’s original Kyoto Protocol 2012 target for CO2 reductions.
WUWT readers may recall that Kyoto was an international agreement proposed in December 1997 requiring nations (according to the U.N. press release then) to reduce CO2 emissions by 5.2% by 2012. It became international law when ratified by Russia in November 2004. The United States never ratified Kyoto and is not legally bound by it, even though then vice president Al Gore signed it much to the annoyance of many.
It expired on December 31st, 2012, with no replacement agreement to follow it.
Well, it seems like killing the economy went hand in hand with CO2 reductions, imagine that. The graph below is from EIA with my annotations.
From the EIA report:
Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the United States since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons of CO2 (see figure above). With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007.
The largest drop in emissions in 2012 came from coal, which is used almost exclusively for electricity generation (see figure below). During 2012, particularly in the spring and early summer, low natural gas prices led to competition between natural gas- and coal-fired electric power generators. Lower natural gas prices resulted in reduced levels of coal generation, and increased natural gas generation—a less carbon-intensive fuel for power generation, which shifted power generation from the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel (coal) to the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel (natural gas).
Other factors contributing to the lower emissions include decreased demand for transportation fuels and mild winter temperatures that reduced demand for heating. The warm winter months during 2012 (particularly in the first quarter) more than offset a slight increase in cooling degree days during the summer months. EIA recently published preliminary data for January-December 2012 in the March 2013 edition of the Monthly Energy Review, which includes statistics covering all aspects of energy. EIA will publish a full analysis of 2012 energy-related CO2 emissions later this year.
CSV data available here: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/chartdata/US_annual_carbon_emissions.csv
AZLeader (who provided this tip) writes:
Kyoto is the bedrock of international law that serves as the legal foundation used by all nations for their individual actions taken to reduce global CO2 emissions. The United States, the lone non-signatory, is now the only major polluter to have met the standard.
Today the EIA simply reports that U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012 were the lowest since 1994. Though amazing in itself, it is not headline news. Meeting the Kyoto Protocol standard should be front page news.
U.S. Meets Kyoto Protocol Standard
The downloaded data shows that U.S. total CO2 emissions for coal, oil and natural gas were 5,584 (million) metric tons in 1997.
It also shows that U.S. CO2 emissions rose to 6,023 (million) metric tons of CO2 in 2007 before they began to fall.
In 2012, U.S. CO2 emissions fell to 5,293 (million) metric tons. That is 291 (million) metric tons less than they were in 1997 and 730 (million) metric tons less than their 2007 peak.
Drum roll please…
291 (million) metric tons below 1997 levels is a 5.2% reduction in CO2 emissions. It EXACTLY meets the Kyoto requirement!
Download CSV Data
Meanwhile, world CO2 emissions haven’t slowed, clearly the USA isn’t the problem.