Frequently Asked Questions

How much of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are associated with electricity generation?

Total U.S. energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the electric power sector1 in 2013 were 2,053 million metric tons, or about 38% of the total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions of 5,405 million metric tons in 2013.

CO2 emissions from U.S. electricity generation by source, 2013


Source Million metric tons Share of total
Coal 1,575 77%
Natural gas 442 22%
Petroleum 23 1%
Other2 11 <1%
Total 2,053  

1 An energy-consuming sector that consists of electricity-only and combined-heat-and-power plants whose primary business is to sell electricity, or electricity and heat, to the public.
2 Includes CO2 emissions from the combustion of miscellaneous waste materials made from fossil fuels and by some types of geothermal power generation.

Learn more:

Monthly Energy Review, Tables 12.1 and 12.6 contain the most recent estimates of monthly and annual U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions, total and by the electric power sector.

Electric Power Annual, Table 9.1: Emissions from energy consumption at conventional power plants and combined-heat-and-power plants.

What are greenhouse gases and how much are emitted by the United States?

Energy and the environment–Greenhouse gases

Last updated:  February 2, 2015

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