GHG down 6 percent in 2009

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were at their lowest level in more than 10 years, according to a final report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The report, “The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2009,” shows overall emissions during 2009 fell by 6.1 percent from the previous year. The drop was attributed to a decrease in fuel and electricity consumption across all sectors. Emissions in 2009 represented the lowest total U.S. annual greenhouse gas emission since 1995.

The report said overall emissions between 1990 and 2009 increased by more than 7.3 percent.

Total emissions of the six main greenhouse gases in 2009 (including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride) were equivalent to 6,633 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the report said. Preliminary numbers in February showed that total GHG emissions were 5.5 billion metric tons in 2009, down from 5.92 billion in 2008.

The inventory tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions at the national level and presents historical emissions from 1990 to 2009. The inventory also calculates carbon dioxide emissions that are removed from the atmosphere by “sinks.” Sinks, for example, may include the uptake of carbon by forests, vegetation and soils.

The EPA inventory, prepared in collaboration with federal agencies, is the latest submitted by the United States to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which sets an overall global framework for nations to address climate change.

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