* Emissions rise quickly when economy recovers
* 2010 does not signal a new trend in emissions growth-EIA
* US needs comprehensive policy for Obama emissions goal
By Timothy Gardner
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. emissions of the main
greenhouse gas rebounded nearly 4 percent last year as
factories ran harder while the economy recovered and as
consumers boost air conditioning during the hot summer, the
government said on Thursday.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of oil, coal
and natural gas, which accounts for about 80 percent of U.S.
overall greenhouse gas output, rose 213 million tonnes, or 3.9
percent, last year, the Energy Information Administration
It was the first rise in the emissions since the recession
pushed them down in the previous two years and the largest
increase since 1988.
"In 2010 manufacturing industries showed a strong recovery
from the 2008-9 recession and energy-intensive manufacturing
experienced high growth as well," which contributed to the
rise, the EIA said in an annual report.
The emissions boost in 2010 "likely does not signal a new
trend in emissions growth," as the total amount emitted was
below levels hit in 2007 and 2005, the EIA said.
In fact, the United States has made some progress on
reducing emissions as many utilities have been switching to
burning natural gas, which releases less CO2 than coal.
In addition, U.S. CO2 emissions from vehicles could ease in
coming years as the Obama administration has already passed
efficiency standards and is considering making them tougher.
Still, last year's rise shows that U.S. emissions are now
mostly dictated by changes in the economy. Without a
comprehensive energy policy, President Barack Obama's goal of
reducing greenhouse gas emissions about 17 percent by 2020 from
the 2005 levels -- which he made at an international conference
on global warming -- remains a challenge.
"The fact that emissions fell in 2008 and 2009 gave some
people false comfort," said Michael Levi, an energy and
environment expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"The reality remains that you're not going to hit the
targets Obama has set out without concerted policy to achieve
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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