Global Warming - Emissions Trends

Individual Emissions

In the United States, approximately 6.6 tons (almost 15,000 pounds) of greenhouse gases are emitted per person every year. And emissions per person have increased about 3.4% between 1990 and 1997. Most of these emissions, about 82%, are from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and power our cars. The remaining emissions are from methane from wastes in our landfills, raising livestock, natural gas pipelines, and coal, as well as from industrial chemicals and other sources.

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Capita and Per Dollar of Gross Domestic Product U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Per Capita and Per Dollar
of Gross Domestic Product
(See National Emissions Trends .)
1995 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Capita Emissions vary based on the country in which you live ( see International Emissions ). The U.S. presently emits more greenhouse gases per person than any other country.
Emissions also vary based on the state you live in. Several factors can affect the emissions per person in a state, for example, the types of fuel used to generate electricity, population and vehicle miles traveled (people tend to drive longer distances in sparsely populated areas), and whether fossil fuels are extracted or processed within the state. You will find additional information concerning emissions in your state in the State Emissions section and through the site's " green power calculator in the Renewable Energy section."

Your Emissions
As an individual, you can affect the emissions of about 4,800 pounds of carbon equivalent, or nearly 32% of the total emissions per person, by the choices you make in three areas of your life. These areas are the electricity we use in our homes, the waste we produce, and personal transportation. The other 68% of emissions are affected more by the types of industries in the U.S., the types of offices we use, how our food is grown, and other factors.


1997 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector

Download Inventories

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Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 1997
(May 1999) USEPA #236-R-99-003

Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 1996
(March 1998) USEPA #236-R-98-006

1997 U.S. Climate Action Report, Chapter 3
Submitted by the United States of America
Under the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change

The publications listed on this page have been developed by the U.S. Government and have been required to meet U.S. commitments under the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Article 4.1a of the UNFCCC requires that all countries periodically publish and make available to the Conference of the Parties (COP), inventories of anthropogenic emissions and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.
Subsequent decisions by the COP require the U.S. to submit these reports on an annual basis and include emissions of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) methane(CH 4 ), nitrous oxide (N 2 O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF 6 ) and removal of these gases by sinks. Countries are required to follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) methods and reporting guidelines as they prepare their inventories.

This page was updated on 23-Mar-2017