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Energy & Emissions

In 2021, 79% of US energy consumption was from fossil fuels, 8.4% was from nuclear, and 12.5% was from renewable sources. The share of energy consumption from nuclear and renewable sources combined has more than doubled since 1980.

Coal provides a decreasing share of US energy, from about 20% of energy consumption in 1980 to about 11% in 2021. Natural gas, which produces half as much carbon dioxide per unit of energy as coal, is a growing fossil fuel energy source, about 32% of US energy consumption in 2021.

Energy & Emissions

Forty percent of US renewable and nuclear energy consumption is from nuclear sources, followed by 23.8% from biomass like wood and biofuels.

Wind and solar energy grew over the past decade and are a combined 23.8% of renewable and nuclear energy consumption.

Energy & Emissions

In 2019, the US ranked fifth among the world’s 10 largest economies for its proportion of energy consumption from renewable and nuclear energy.

In 11 countries, renewable and nuclear sources comprised more than half of energy consumed, including Bhutan (84%), Iceland (79%), and Paraguay (74%).

Energy & Emissions

In 2019, 55.1% of New Hampshire’s energy consumption was from renewable and nuclear, the highest nationwide. South Carolina was second, with 45.8%.

The median state, Michigan, consumes 20.4% of its energy from renewable or nuclear sources. Wyoming and Louisiana consume the most total energy per person, at 942.5 million and 919.3 million BTU per 1,000 residents, respectively.

Carbon dioxide was 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Other gases including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases comprised the rest.

Energy & Emissions

The US emitted about 5.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019, making up 14.5% of the world’s emissions.

In 1980, the US emitted about 25% of global carbon dioxide emissions. It has produced about 20% of the world’s total emissions since 1980.

Energy & Emissions

Transportation was the largest source of US emissions in 2020. It surpassed electricity generation emissions in 2017.

Transportation and electricity generation combined create more than half of all US emissions, and almost entirely through carbon-dioxide-producing fossil fuel combustion. Industrial activity is about 24% of all emissions. Industrial activity contributes to emissions via fossil fuel combustion, natural gas, chemical production, and fluorinated gases.

Energy & Emissions

The US emitted about 15.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person in 2019, ranking fourth among the world’s top 15 gross emitters.

Adjusting for GDP, the US ranks ninth among the world’s top 15 gross emitters, emitting about 258 metric tons of carbon dioxide per $1 million in GDP.

Energy & Emissions

The average American generated 4.9 lbs. of solid trash (food waste, paper, etc.) daily in 2018, up from 3.7 lbs. in 1980.

However, 32.1% of waste in 2018 was recycled or composted, up from 9.6% in 1980.

Learn more about energy, environment, and natural resources in the US.

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