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CO2 in the air: How does it get there? : CO2 emissions by fuel type and sector

Summary:
[embedded content] In a previous post, we looked at carbon emissions by fuel type broken down by different economic sectors. Today, we slice the data another way: We look at each economic sector and break down their emissions by fuel type. The first graph shows that the big emitters are transportation, electric power generation, and industry. Overall emissions have tended to decline, mostly thanks to a decline from power generation. [embedded content] The next graph shows the commercial sector. Overall, it emits relatively little CO2 and all fuel types seem to be on the decline. The recent surge in gasoline is most likely due to a reclassification of some sub-sectors into the commercial sector. [embedded content] The next graph, which shows emissions from the industrial sector, isn’t

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In a previous post, we looked at carbon emissions by fuel type broken down by different economic sectors. Today, we slice the data another way: We look at each economic sector and break down their emissions by fuel type. The first graph shows that the big emitters are transportation, electric power generation, and industry. Overall emissions have tended to decline, mostly thanks to a decline from power generation.

The next graph shows the commercial sector. Overall, it emits relatively little CO2 and all fuel types seem to be on the decline. The recent surge in gasoline is most likely due to a reclassification of some sub-sectors into the commercial sector.

The next graph, which shows emissions from the industrial sector, isn’t very enlightening, as the largest fuel type is “Other.” But all fuel types are emitting less, except for distillate fuels such as diesel.

Electric power generation is traditionally the largest emitter, so it’s particularly relevant to consider its fuel composition. A clear majority of its emissions come from coal, but this is now on a steady decline. Natural gas has increased, but overall emissions from this sector have been decreasing.

Our last two graphs consider the transportation and residential sectors: Clearly, the transportation sector is very heavily into petroleum, with a slight upward trend in its emissions. The residential sector is heavily into natural gas, plus a bit of petroleum, with a slight downward trend.

How these graphs were created: For the first, search for “carbon dioxide emissions all fuels,” use the side bar to restrict results to “nation,” select the series shown here, and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Format” tab to select graph type “Area” and stacking “Normal.” The five other graphs are built similarly by searching for “carbon dioxide emissions” and the respective sector, including only series where the units are million metric tons. Note: The “Format” tab also allows you to choose colors for the series, which is useful for making the colors for the fuels consistent across graphs.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

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FRED Blog
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is the center of the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve System. This District includes Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, western Kentucky and Tennessee, and northern Mississippi.

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