US energy-related CO2 emissions rose in 2018 but are expected to fall in 2019, 2020

Published on January 29, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

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According to the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 2.8 percent in 2018 but will likely decrease in 2019 and 2020.

The 2018 increase is the largest increase in energy-related CO2 emissions since 2010.

Emissions from petroleum represent the largest share of total energy-related CO2, but emissions from natural gas, which grew by approximately 10 percent, drove the overall increase in 2018, EIA said.

EIA attributed the increased energy consumption and emissions in 2018 primarily to weather conditions and continued economic growth.

U.S. population-weighted cooling degree days (CDD), an indicator of air-conditioning demand, hit a new record in 2018. Heating degree days (HDD), an indicator of heating demand, were the highest since 2014.

EIA expects 2019 and 2020 to have milder weather than 2018, resulting in fewer HDDs and fewer CDDs and, consequently.

According to EIA’s short-term outlook, gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slow from 2.9 percent growth in 2018 to 2.7 percent in 2019 and 2.0 percent in 2020.

EIA notes that even with decreased emissions over the next two years, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 and 2020 are still forecasted to be above 2017 levels.