– Clean Versus Fossil Energy Consumption (Monthly)
– Carbon Dioxide Emission from Energy Consumption (Annually)
– Wildfire Year-to-Date Statistics (Annually)
Clean vs. fossil energy consumption
Source: EIA monthly energy review, Topic 1.3, “Primary energy consumption by source”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) updates its analysis of U.S. energy trends monthly, including comparisons of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy consumption. These figures shed light on how much the country relies on various forms of energy and can track progress in clean energy growth over time. The EIA is considered an authoritative source for energy information in the country, making these statistics reliable. While the figures are updated monthly, they often lag by several months. The most recent figures show that, from January – October 2021, fossil fuels accounted for 79.02% of U.S. energy consumption, renewables were 12.43%, and nuclear was 8.4%. In the same time period in 2020, fossil fuels were 78.37% of U.S. consumption, while renewables were 12.49% and nuclear was 8.97%. While these changes are slight, they represent an overall increase in fossil fuel dependency from 2020 to 2021, with nuclear and renewables both falling slightly in use over the year.
Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption
Source: EIA monthly energy review, Topic 11.1, “Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption by source” and Topic 11.7, “Carbon dioxide emissions from biomass energy consumption”
Also included in EIA’s monthly energy review are estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption by source (fossil fuels and biomass). These statistics are useful to understand the emissions implications of the country’s energy use, but should not be assumed to provide a full picture of U.S. emissions, given that they do not include other sources such as agriculture, etc. While the Environmental Protection Agency runs a more comprehensive inventory of both greenhouse gas emissions and sinks, this data is only released annually, making EIA’s data an acceptable substitute in the interim. The most recent emissions estimates from EIA indicate there were 4.312 billion metric tons of CO2 released from energy consumption from January – October 2021 (both fossil fuels and biomass), representing an increase from the same ten months in 2020, but a decrease from 2019.
Wildfire year-to-date statistics
Source: National Interagency Fire Center National Fire News, and annual reports
With climate change increasing temperatures and drought in many parts of the country, the wildfire season has gotten longer and more disastrous. These wildfires can emit massive amounts of carbon dioxide, burning through millions of acres of forests that have sequestered carbon for decades. Unfortunately, carbon emission estimates from these fires are not calculated on a regular basis, although some organizations provide annual estimates of all fires in a given year. As a result, the wildfire year-to-date statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center are sufficient to indicate trends in wildfire to present, which can be compared to past years to show changes in the frequency and severity of wildfire over time. These statistics can then be supplemented with annual wildfire emissions data as available. From January 1 to February 11, 2022, 3,120 wildfires burned 54,170 acres in the United States. This is slightly above the 10-year average for the same timeframe (2,529 wildfires burning 50,683 acres), showing increasing wildfire impact over time.
|Performance indicator||Baseline value||Date|
|Clean vs. fossil energy consumption||79.02% fossil (63.5 quadrillion BTU)
12.43% renewable (9.99 quadrillion BTU)
8.40% nuclear (6.75 quadrillion BTU)
|Data from January – October 2021, released in January 2022|
|Carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption||4.312 billion metric tons of CO2||Data from January – October 2021, released in January 2022|
|Wildfire year-to-date statistics||3,120 wildfires burned 54,170 acres||Data from January 1 – February 11, 2022|
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard US Country Manager Christina Cilento