According to a recently released report by The Environmental Integrity Project, carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the U.S. rose by 5.56% in 2010 over the previous year -- the biggest annual increase since 1995.
Using data gathered by the EPA, Environmental Integrity released this study that names the top 10 offenders. Florida's power plants rank second, right after Texas, having emitted 130,324,532 tons of CO2 in 2010, an increase from the 119,960,137 tons emitted in 2009.
Not surprising is the fact that 2010 was also the warmest year on record (having tied with 2005) and that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. CO2 is a greenhouse gas which has been linked to global warming, so is it just a coincidence that the hottest year on record occurred when our carbon emissions rose?
The Environmental Integrity Project report states:
Electricity generators released 2.423 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2010, compared to 2.295 billion tons in 2009, according to information available on EPAs Clean Air Markets database. While the increase is worrisome, power plant emissions are still below the high water mark of 2.565 million tons set in 2007. Last years rise was driven in part by a 3.0% net increase in overall generation for the 12 months ending in November of 2010, due to the economic recovery and unusually warm weather in some parts of the country.
Average global temperatures last year reached the 2005 level, the warmest year on record. 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 nations total U.S. releases of CO2, and more than nearly 5% of CO2 emissions worldwide. Coal-fired boilers provided 45% of our electricity in 2010, but were responsible for 81% of total U.S. CO2 emissions from electricity generation last year.
Information via Environmental Integrity Project and Huffington Post Green; Image via Science Daily.