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What's The Story Behind US Carbon Emission Reductions?

Date: 20 March 2013

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7 pages, 3 figures

Executive Summary

In 2012, US carbon emissions dropped to 1994 levels, falling from a 2007 peak. This certainly sounds like good news, but multiple factors underpin this end result, and its implications are unclear. This report analyses the contribution of macro-level drivers – GDP, energy intensity and emissions intensity – using the Kaya Identity. The results show that temporary factors – slow growth in the economy and the increasing contribution of shale gas in the energy supply – have helped reduce carbon emissions. As a consequence of falling emission levels, those responsible for carbon management will find it increasingly difficult to gain support or investment for developing carbon strategies. Without losing sight of the carbon agenda sustainability leaders should concentrate on strategies that reduce energy consumption and deliver cost savings, whilst reducing emissions and mitigating risk from future carbon legislation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND US CARBON EMISSION REDUCTIONS?
After Peaking In 2007 US Carbon Dioxide Emissions Dropped To 1994 Levels In 2012
The US Is Not On The Path To A Global Low-Carbon Future

FIRMS SHOULD DEVELOP THEIR ENERGY STRATEGIES WHILST KEEPING ONE EYE ON THE CARBON AGENDA
Monitoring Of Carbon Emissions Is Still Essential For Sustainability Communications And Risk Management

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Breakdown Of The Three Factors Contributing To Carbon Emission Reductions
Figure 2.
US Industrial Sector Is Becoming More Energy Efficient
Figure 3.
US Energy Mix (1990-2012)

ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONEDORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED

Apple, Carbon Disclosure Project, General Electric, General Motors, Lawerence Berkley National Laboratory, National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce, US Department of Defense, US Department of Transportation, US Energy Information Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Federal Reserve