Energy & Emissions

Eighty percent of US energy consumed is from fossil fuels, but the share of US energy consumption from nuclear and renewable sources has nearly doubled since 1980 to 20% in 2019.

Coal provides a decreasing share of our energy, while natural gas, which produces roughly half as much carbon dioxide per unit of energy as coal, is a growing fossil fuel energy source.

Energy & Emissions

Forty-two percent of US renewable and nuclear energy consumption is from nuclear sources, followed by 25% from biomass like wood and biofuels.

Wind and solar energy grew over the past decade but make up only a combined 19% of renewable and nuclear energy consumption.

Energy & Emissions

In 2017, the US ranked 5th among the world’s 10 largest economies for its proportion of energy consumption coming from renewable and nuclear energy.

In 13 countries, renewable and nuclear sources comprise more than half of energy consumed, including Bhutan (89%), Iceland (78%), Paraguay (77%), Norway (68%), Tajikistan (68%), and Sweden (65.5%).

Energy & Emissions

New Hampshire and Washington State lead the country in renewable and nuclear energy consumption as of 2017, with this energy making up 53% and 50% of consumption, respectively. The median state, Virginia, consumes 21%.

Louisiana and Wyoming consume the most total energy per person, at 959 million and 884 million BTU per capita, respectively.

While carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas—there are also emissions due to methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases—carbon dioxide made up 80% of all emissions in 2019 and is best represented in comparative data.

Energy & Emissions

The US emitted 5.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2017, making up 14% of the world’s emissions that year.

However, in 1980, the US emitted 25% of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions and has produced 20% of the world’s total emissions since 1980.

Energy & Emissions

Transportation is the largest source of US emissions, surpassing electricity generation in 2017.

Nearly half of carbon dioxide emissions come from petroleum-fueled energy consumption, but a growing amount is from natural gas-fueled energy.

Energy & Emissions

The US emitted 15.8 tons of carbon dioxide per person in 2017, ranking 2nd among the world’s top 10 gross emitters.

Adjusting for GDP, the US ranks 7th among the world’s top 10 gross emitters, emitting 270 tons of carbon dioxide per $1 million in GDP.

Energy & Emissions

The average American generated 4.5 lbs of solid trash (food waste, paper, etc.) daily in 2017, up from 3.6 lbs per day in 1980.

However, 35% of waste in 2017 was recycled or composted, up from 9.6% in 1980.

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