U.S.: CO2 Emissions, by year
YearEmissions,
in million metric tons of carbon dioxide
20224,941
20214,905
20204,584
20195,147
20185,278
20175,132
20165,169
20155,262
20145,414
20135,359
20125,236
20115,455
20105,594
20095,404
20085,823
20076,016
20065,929
20056,007
20045,994
20035,887
20025,820
20015,778
20005,889
19995,700
19985,637
19975,589
19965,518
19955,324
19945,262
19935,182
19925,089
19914,991
19905,038
19895,085
19884,998
19874,776
19864,616
19854,605
19844,613
19834,384
19824,404
19814,637
19804,756
19794,950
19784,884
19774,835
19764,695
19754,428
  • Region: United States
  • Time period: 1975 to 2022
  • Published: Dec 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 30, 2024 | Published by: Statistico

Peak and Recent Emissions Comparison

The highest recorded carbon dioxide emissions were in 2007, reaching 6,016 million metric tons. In contrast, the most recent data from 2022 show emissions at 4,941 million metric tons, marking a significant decrease of 1,075 million metric tons from the peak.

Decadal Reduction in Emissions

The decrease in emissions from 2010 to 2020 illustrates a notable environmental improvement. Emissions dropped from 5,594 million metric tons in 2010 to 4,584 million metric tons in 2020, showcasing a reduction of 1,010 million metric tons over the decade.

Largest Annual Emissions Drop

The year 2020 saw the largest annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, with a reduction of 321 million metric tons compared to the previous year. This significant drop is reflective of the global events that year which led to reduced industrial activity and transportation.

Average Yearly Change

Over the examined period, the average yearly change in carbon dioxide emissions was a decrease of 10.91 million metric tons. This average reflects the overall trend towards reducing emissions, despite yearly fluctuations.

Significant Yearly Increase

In contrast to reductions, the year 2019 recorded the largest annual increase in emissions, with a rise of 563 million metric tons from the previous year. This highlights the variability in emissions due to economic and industrial activities.

Long-term Emissions Trend

Comparing the emissions at the start and end of the dataset, carbon dioxide emissions increased from 4,428 million metric tons in 1975 to 4,941 million metric tons in 2022. This overall increase of 513 million metric tons over nearly five decades underscores the long-term challenge of significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What were the highest recorded carbon dioxide emissions and when were they recorded?

The highest recorded carbon dioxide emissions were in 2007, reaching 6,016 million metric tons.

What year saw the largest annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions?

The year 2020 saw the largest annual decrease in carbon dioxide emissions, with a reduction of 321 million metric tons.

What was the largest annual increase in carbon dioxide emissions and when did it occur?

The largest annual increase in emissions occurred in 2019, with a rise of 563 million metric tons from the previous year.

Terms and Definitions

Carbon Dioxide Emissions refer to the release of CO2 into the atmosphere as a byproduct when fossil fuels such as gas, oil, and coal are burned for energy or from certain human activities like deforestation. Increasing CO2 emissions have been linked to global warming and climate change.

Fossil fuels are natural fuels - such as coal, gas, and oil - formed from the remains of living organisms over millions of years. They are currently the world's primary energy source, but burning them releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Greenhouse gases are gases in the Earth's atmosphere, including carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and nitrous oxide, that trap heat from the sun. They maintain Earth's temperature but when their concentration increases due to human activities, it can lead to an enhanced greenhouse effect, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Deforestation is the removal or clearing of forests, mainly due to human activities such as logging, farming, and urban development. Deforestation can contribute to CO2 emissions because trees absorb CO2, and when they're cut down, they release the stored carbon back into the atmosphere.

Climate Change refers to significant changes in global temperatures and weather patterns over time. Compared to 'weather,' it is a longer-term pattern of temperature and precipitation. It is largely driven by rising greenhouse gas levels due to human activities like burning fossil fuels and deforestation.

Global Warming is a subtype of climate change and refers specifically to the long-term increase in Earth's average temperature. It is primarily caused by the increase in greenhouse gases released by human activities.

A carbon footprint is a measure of the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, that are directly and indirectly emitted by an individual, organization, event, product, or nation.

Decarbonization is the process of reducing or eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from our energy sources or wider economy. It's typically achieved through the use of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency measures, and carbon capture technology.

Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources that are naturally replenished within a human lifespan, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy resources are considered more sustainable than fossil fuels and contribute less to climate change.
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