In the largest annual increase since the Environmental Protection Agency started tracking carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in 1995, U.S. emissions rose 5.56 percent in 2010 over the year before, according to an Environmental Integrity Project report released this week.
Electricity generators released 2.423 billion tons of CO2 in 2010, compared to 2.295 billion tons in 2009, according to information available on EPA’s “Clean Air Markets” database. Emissions are still below the high-water mark of 2.565 million tons, set in 2007.
“Average global temperatures last year reached the 2005 level, the warmest year on record,” the Environmental Integrity Project reports. “CO2 is the most prevalent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming; the combustion of fossil fuels for electricity generation in the U.S. accounts for more than one third of our nation’s total U.S. releases of CO2, and nearly 5 percent of CO2 emissions worldwide. Coal-fired boilers provided 45 percent of our electricity in 2010, but were responsible for 81 percent of total U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation last year.”
The report also listed emission levels for each state. The top 10 polluters are:
Last year saw the largest increase in CO2 emissions from power plants on record in the United States.