Environment & Energy

While 2021 was cooler than 2016 — the hottest year on record — it was warmer than any recorded year prior to 2015.

Last year, the average global temperature was 0.84 °C (1.51 °F) above the 20th-century average.

Environment & Energy

Most Americans are experiencing climate that's unusual by 20th-century standards.

In 2021, 90% of Americans lived in counties that had at least one month with extremely high temperatures compared to the 20th-century average. Forty-seven percent lived in counties with at least one month of extremely wet weather.

Environment & Energy

Wildfires burned fewer acres in 2021 than in recent years but still more than double the yearly 1990s average.

Wildfires burned 7.1 million acres in 2021, down 29.6% from 2020 and 4.1% above the 2010s annual average. ​

Environment & Energy

The US experienced 20 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events in 2021.

That's two fewer than 2020 but more than any other previous year. These disasters cost a total of $145 billion, the third-highest amount of any year with available data.

Environment & Energy

The US produced more energy last year than in any previous year except 2019, according to preliminary 2021 data.

Renewable energy production grew 99.0% from 2000, faster than fossil fuel (up 33.7%) and nuclear energy (up 3.0%). Nuclear and renewables are now 20.9% of US energy production. These trends are based on preliminary 2021 data; the Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release updated 2021 data later this year.

Environment & Energy

Last year's per-person energy consumption was 4.7% higher than in 2020, but was the second-lowest since 1966.

This follows an 8.3% drop in per-person energy consumption in 2020. Energy consumption per person has fallen an average of 0.8% annually since 2000. (These trends are based on preliminary 2021 data; the EIA will release updated 2021 data later this year.)

Environment & Energy

Fossil fuels account for 94% of energy used by the transportation sector and 80% of energy used by the industrial sector.

Together, these sectors account for 60% of all US energy consumption and 66% of fossil fuel consumption. The nation's share of energy consumption from petroleum and coal dropped in 2020 but grew by 1.1 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively, in 2021. (These trends are based on preliminary 2021 data; the EIA will release updated 2021 data later this year.)

Environment & Energy

Preliminary 2021 EIA data shows that carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption rose after dropping in 2020.

Carbon dioxide emissions increased by 7.2% compared to emissions for the same period in 2020 after an 11.0% drop in 2020. Forty-five percent of carbon dioxide emissions were from petroleum, 33.0% from natural gas, and 21.3% from coal. (These trends are based on preliminary 2021 data; the EIA will release updated 2021 data later this year.) In 2019, the US discharged 14.1% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, more than India and Russia, the following two highest-emitting countries, combined. Only China (10.8 billion metric tons) emitted more than the US (5.1 billion metric tons).

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