Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rose in 2014 as U.S. Economy Grew More

U.S. energy-related emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide grew in 2014 for the second straight year, but not as much as the economy.

Emissions rose 0.7 percent last year, lagging behind growth in gross domestic product of 2.4 percent, the U.S. Energy Department said on its website Monday.

Emissions have historically moved in patterns that reflect economic growth. Carbon dioxide emissions climbed 2.5 percent in 2013, comparable to the 2.2 percent gain in the economy. The lower increase in 2014 is a sign that efforts to rein in air pollution don’t restrain economic expansion. The same pattern was observed worldwide last year, as emissions were flat while the economy grew.

Energy consumption accounts for the largest component of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the statement. The Obama administration on March 31 officially submitted an emissions-cutting target to the United Nations, committing to reducing emissions by as much as 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Estimated 2014 energy-related CO2 emissions of 5,404 million metric tons are expected to increase slightly in 2015 and 2016, the agency said. Energy-related emissions come from producing and using coal, oil, natural gas and electricity.

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