WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2017 - A report released by the Energy Information Administration shows carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decreased by 89 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2016 from the previous year. Energy-related CO2 declined in carbon intensity and in energy intensity for an overall carbon intensity decline of 3.1 percent, EIA said in a report released Oct. 5.

The decline in emissions in 2016 was the sixth in 10 years, with the steepest drop occurring in 2009. In 2016, CO2 emissions were 823 MMmt below 2005 levels, resulting in a 14 percent reduction. EIA attributes falling emissions to reduced carbon intensity and a slowed population growth.

The report shows a rise in emissions derived from petroleum and other liquids beginning in 2012 and general decline in CO2 emitted from coal consumption since 2007. Natural gas CO2 emissions have risen each year since 2009. However, natural gas produces more energy for the same amount of emissions as coal.

Transportation produced the most CO2 emissions, staying with a trend that began in the late 1990s. Motor gasoline claimed 56 percent of the transportation sector’s 34 MMmt increase in emissions, which was up 1.8 percent from 2015. Jet fuel also surpassed 2015 emissions by 4 percent. Diesel emissions fell by 2.7 percent.

Industrial emissions continue a downward trend which began in the 1990s. Building sector emissions declined 3.5 percent in 2016. The commercial sector curbed emissions by 3.2 percent. Thanks to 2016’s moderate temperatures, residential sector CO2 emissions were down 3.6 percent from 2015.

Wind and solar electricity generation helped lower the carbon intensity of the electric supply. The year 2016 saw an increase in nuclear power generation and a decrease in hydropower. Other renewables remained flat.

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