Society

U.S. Fossil Fuel Emissions Drop To Lowest Since 1991

| by Lauren Briggs
an electric car charging stationan electric car charging station

In the first six months of 2016, Americans produced the least amount of fossil-fuel pollution in any half-year period since 1991.

During those six months, U.S. households used nine percent less energy than they did during the same time span in 2015, federal energy officials announced on Oct. 13, according to the Associated Press.

The total U.S. carbon pollution rate for the entire 2016 year is on track to be the lowest since 1992, when the country's population was lower than it is now by nearly 70 million people.

A nine percent increase in renewable energy sources like wind turbines and solar panels explains a portion of this as do record-high temperatures during that period; between January and June, Americans had the lowest ever needs to turn on their heating units, according to measurements from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, who began keeping records of that in 1949.

Scientists attribute the rising temperatures to a strong El Nino as well as global warming caused by high rates of fossil fuel emissions around the globe.

Americans are also using far less coal than they have for many years -- in the first six months of the year, they used 18 percent less coal than in the same period in 2015. While lower gasoline prices caused Americans to consume one percent more gas than the previous year, energy officials say that the coal reduction was more than enough to offset the increased gas use.

Carbon pollution is expected to continue decreasing in upcoming years in accordance with the Paris Agreement signed by President Barack Obama, which will go into effect in November. The Obama administration pledged to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, by phasing out coal production in favor of cleaner energy sources, increasing the use of hybrid and electric cars as well as public transportation and decreasing carbon emitted from various production industries, notes Green Geeks Blog.

Sources: Associated Press via ABC News, Green Geeks / Photo Credit: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz/Wikimedia Commons

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