EIA projects U.S. total annual carbon dioxide emissions to be lower in 2050
In the Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (AEO2022) Reference case, which assumes no changes to current laws or regulations, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will fall to 4.5 billion metric tons in 2037, or 6% below the energy-related CO2 emissions in 2021, before rising to 4.7 billion metric tons in 2050, or 2% below 2021 levels. Projected emissions decline from 2022 to 2037 primarily as a result of decreasing carbon intensity (CO2 per unit of energy consumed) in the electric power sector. The rise in emissions from 2037 to 2050 is primarily due to increasing consumption. In the AEO2022 Reference case, U.S. energy consumption grows from 2021 through 2050 because of population growth of 0.4% per year and real economic growth of 2.2% per year. Over the projection period, increasing CO2 emissions from natural gas and petroleum consumption growth will offset declines in CO2 emissions from coal consumption.
World CO2 emissions are projected to increase
EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2021 (IEO2021) Reference case projects that if current policy and technology trends continue, global energy consumption and energy-related CO2 emissions will increase from 2020 through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth. However, projected future growth in energy-related CO2 emissions is not evenly distributed across the world, and the majority of the projected future growth in energy-related CO2 emissions is among the group of countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2021, Reference case, October 2021
Note: OECD is Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Last updated: April 12, 2022, with most recent available data at the time of update.