Frequently Asked Questions

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

In 2015, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the U.S. electric power sector1 were 1,925 million metric tons, or about 37% of the total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions of 5,271 million metric tons.2

CO2 emissions from U.S. electric power sector by source, 2015

Source Million metric tons Share of total
Coal 1,364 71%
Natural gas 530 28%
Petroleum 24 1%
Other3 7 <1%
Total 1, 925  

1 An energy-consuming sector that consists of electricity-only power plants and combined-heat-and-power plants whose primary business is to sell electricity, or electricity and heat, to the public.
2 Preliminary data for 2015.
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 Explained: Energy and the Environment–Greenhouse gases

Last updated:  April 1, 2016

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