U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions equaled 2,530 million metric tons in the first six months of 2016. This was the lowest level of emissions for the first six months of the year since 1991, as mild weather and changes in the fuels used to generate electricity contributed to the decline in energy-related emissions. EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that energy-associated CO2 emissions will fall to 5,179 million metric tons in 2016, the lowest yearly level since 1992.
Pertaining to milder weather, in the first six months of 2016, the United States had the fewest heating degree days since at least 1949, the first year the EIA had monthly data for all 50 states. Warmer weather during winter months decreases demand for heating fuels such as electricity, natural gas and distillate heating. The decrease was most notable in the residential and electric power sectors, where primary energy consumption decreased 9% and 3%, respectively.
Consumption of renewable fuels that do not produce carbon dioxide increased 9% during the first six months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015. Wind energy, which saw the largest electricity generating capacity additions of any fuel in 2015, accounted for nearly half the increase. Solar energy made up 13% of the increase and is estimated to see the largest capacity additions of any fuel in 2016.