Environment & Energy

2020 was the second-warmest year on record.

In 2020, the average global temperature was 0.98 °C

(1.76 °F) above the 20th century average. It was also 0.02 °C (0.04 °F) below 2016, the warmest year on record.

Environment & Energy

Last year, there were 22 natural disasters that cost over $1 billion each, six more than any year recorded.

The 2010s averaged twelve such disasters per year and the 2000s averaged six such disasters per year. ​

Environment & Energy

Preliminary data shows that 2020 was the second-worst year for wildfires on recent record, with over 10 million acres burned.

Wildfires burned an average of 7 million acres per year in the 2010s, more than twice the annual average in the 1990s. Final data on 2020 wildfires will be released in March 2021.

Environment & Energy

US energy production is accelerating, increasing by 5.8% between 2018 and 2019.

Fossil fuel production was up 38% in 2019 compared to 1980, largely due to a 77% increase in natural gas production (and despite a 23% decrease in coal production). Nuclear energy production increased 209% in the same period and renewable production increased 112%. Combined, renewable and nuclear energy comprised 20% of energy production in 2019. ​

Environment & Energy

Energy consumption per person in 2019 was 13% lower than in 2000.

However, it was above the low reached in 2017.

Environment & Energy

In 2019, renewable energy consumption surpassed coal energy consumption for the first time in over 130 years.

However, fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, and coal) continued to account for 80% of US energy consumption.

Environment & Energy

In 2019, the US became a net exporter of energy for the first time since 1952.

Imported energy fell 34% from the high in 2006, while exports increased 440% over the same period.

Environment & Energy

The US emits fewer greenhouse gases per person than in 1990, but greenhouse gas emissions per capita increased in 2018 for the first time since 2014.

In 2018, the US made up 15% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and emitted more metric tons of carbon dioxide (5.3 billion metric tons) than any country other than China (10.6 billion metric tons).

Environment & Energy

Carbon dioxide emissions were 11% lower in the first 10 months of 2020 compared to the same months in 2019, partly due to pandemic travel restrictions.

Carbon dioxide is the largest source of US greenhouse gas, comprising 81% of 2018 emissions, followed by methane at 10%. For more on the environment, see the State of the Earth.​

Continue exploring the State of the Union

Explore more of USAFacts