Monday, December 11, 2017

US Carbon Emissions

The above shows US carbon emissions by sector, with some further breakdown by the dominant fuel types.  The good news is that US carbon emissions have declined almost 15% since the peak in the mid 2000s, and still seem to be declining as of 2016, the last year of data available.  The mid-2000s oil price shock appears to have had lasting and beneficial effect on US energy efficiency.  It's not as much progress as we need to avoid serious climate damage, but it's something.

Overlaid on each sector is a summary statistic to give a flavor of the different contributions.  For example, the Census Bureau says there are about 118 million housing units in the US in 2015.  Almost all of them contribute to residential carbon emissions to some degree.  I have overlaid that number on the reddish residential carbon emissions.

I like this graph because to me it summarizes the nature of the challenge.  I believe climate change will be defeated "under the hood" and "down in the basement".  Every house has a heating system that needs to become a fossil fuel free one, every commercial building likewise, every car has an engine that needs to be electric or hydrogen, not gas or diesel.  It's a very concrete, tangible problem.  But mostly affecting dirty looking machines in hidden places that need to be changed.

Data Sources:
Emissions data from EIA Nov 2017 Monthly Energy Review, Table 12.  Household count from Census Bureau American Household Survey, 2015.  Vehicle count from ORNL Transportation Energy Data Book, Chapter 3.  Commercial building count from EIA Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, linearly extrapolated from 2012 to 2017.  Factory count from Census Bureau, Statistics of US Business, number of manufacturing establishments in 2015.


OilisFinite said...

Yeah! Stuart Staniford is BACK! Cant wait till you graph past,current and future oil production for Iraq. One of your best posts from the past.


DBG said...

Welcome back. I have been hoping to hear about how your 'under the hood' work on your old house has turned out for you.

rjs said...

i notice you didn't include agriculture, Stuart...over the past year or so there's been a big push to blame climate change on ruminants, and by proxy all those who eat meat...just today i saw another article that claims food accounts for about one fourth of global emissions:

it strikes me that the fossil fuel companies are quite pleased that the environmental movement has gone off the rails on this tangent...

Bjorn said...

I almost gave up hope of reading one of the best blogger ever again, but I still had the link saved for the very rare occasion you would start writing again. Welcome back!