United States – climate and energy statistics

USATotal national greenhouse gas emissions

About 18% of global total. This puts it joint top with China.

Historical contribution 1850-2000


Per capita annual greenhouse gas emissions

23.5 tonnes

Energy used per unit of GDP

Two and a half times as much as China and about a third more than Germany and Japan. However, less than half as much as Russia.

Balance of energy sources – 2008













Other renewables


According to the US Energy Information Administration, renewables provided over 10% of both U.S. energy production and US electricity generation over the first nine months of 2009:

Energy from biofuels, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind sources contributed 10.5% of US energy generation – an increase on the 9.67% and 10.12% figures for 2007 and 2008 respectively.  Renewables also contributed 10.21% of America’s electricity.  US energy production from renewable sources grew by 4.10% during the first nine months of 2009 compared to the first nine months of 2009, with most of that growth coming from wind and hydropower.  Wind energy production expanded by 28.46% and hydropower 4.73% during the first three-quarters of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008.”

(See New Energy Focus: U.S. produces 10% of energy from renewable sources.)

Energy security

The USA is self sufficient in coal. About two-thirds of the oil used is imported. About 20% of the gas used is imported, mainly from Canada.

Electricity generated – 2008

Coal 49%
Gas 21%
Nuclear 19%
Hydro 6.5%
Oil 1.5%
Wind 1.3%
Biomass 1%
Waste 0.5%
Geothermal 0.4%
PV 0.35%

Installed wind capacity

In 2008 the US overtook Germany to become the world leader in wind, with 25 Gw of installed capacity (Germany had 24 Gw).  But by the end of 2010 China had overtaken the US, with 41.8 Gw to the Americans’ 40.2 Gw.

2002     4.68 Gw

2003     6.37 Gw

2004     6.73 Gw

2005     9.14 Gw

2006     11.60 Gw

2007    16.82 Gw

2008    25.17 Gw

2009     35.16 Gw

2010     40.2 Gw

Electricity – supply and demand

In the 1950s, demand grew by 9% a year. In the 1990s, this was down to 2.5% and, in 2000-07, it was 1.1%.

Despite this slowing of the growth in demand, it is possible that some parts of the US will have times without electricity. This is because of low ‘capacity margins’ – that is, capacity of more than 100% of demand, to ensure that enough electricity if generated if some power stations stop working (for example, for repairs). The Eastern grid, which transmits 75% of total US electricity, has a capacity margin of 14%. The recommended level is 15%.

Fuels used for heat, 2008

Gas 66%
Coal 18%
Oil 8%
Biomass 5.5%
Waste 3%

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