This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 26, 2003

Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reductions Increased in 2001

U.S. companies that are voluntarily reporting their cuts in greenhouse gas emissions were able to eliminate more emissions in 2001 than they did in 2000, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA). Overall, voluntary greenhouse gas reductions increased 5.4 percent over 2000 reduction levels. The 228 participating companies reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 316 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, or about 4.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Most noteworthy is that the bulk of emissions cuts were achieved through direct reductions-actually cutting the companies' emissions-rather than helping to cut emissions at other facilities or using means of sequestering carbon, such as tree planting. With power companies dominating the group, most of the reductions were achieved through improved power plant efficiencies, increased use of cogeneration and renewable energy sources, and improved demand-side management programs to help customers use less electricity. See the EIA press release.

The EIA also released in mid-February a summary version of its report on total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2001 (the full report was released in December 2002). The report shows a 1.2 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2001, primarily because of slow economic growth, reduced manufacturing output, a drop in electrical demand, and a warm winter. See the EIA summary report.

Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed in late January that on a global scale, 2002 was the second-warmest year on record, topped only by 1998, when a strong El Nino contributed to higher global temperatures. In mid-February, NOAA reported that January 2003 was the third-warmest January on record for the globe.