United States

Making progress despite policy gridlock

The United States has created a “messy but useful” combination of incentives, regulation, persuasion, and innovation at the federal and state level, which has contributed to a recent decline in emissions. Sustaining and escalating this emissions decline while creating more cost-effective policy in the face of tightened government spending is the next challenge.


These graphs show the changes in emissions and growth in the Power, Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Agriculture sectors in US


Power Emissions and generation

There was steady emissions and generation growth through the mid-2000s. Until recently, emissions grew in tandem with increasing electricity demand.


    Industry Industry emissions

    Industrial emissions declined before the recession even as industrial production rose


      Buildings Building sector emissions

      Emissions grew slowly, but steadily, until 2005, when emissions peaked and slowly declined.


        Transport Emissions and transport activity

        Both passenger and freight travel increased significantly since 1980. Passenger travel dropped significantly during the recession.