WASHINGTON, April 1 (UPI) -- The economic recession and low energy prices contributed to the largest decline in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in more than a decade, the EIA said.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency found that man-made greenhouse gas emissions in the United States were 5.8 percent less in 2009 than they were during 2008.
The decline in total emissions was the largest on record for the EIA since 1990. The agency found there was a substantial decline in carbon dioxide emissions but a modest increase in methane emissions and in the level of gases emitted with a high potential to lead to climate change.
The agency said the decrease in the amount of CO2 was primarily the result of the global economic recession, which hit the energy sector particularly hard because of lower demand. The low price of natural gas, meanwhile, prompted many consumers to switch from coal.
The EIA report found that petroleum was the largest contributor of CO2 emissions, making up 43 percent of the total amount released in 2009.
U.S. President Barack Obama during his State of the Union address in January outlined plans to use clean energy for 80 percent of the nation's demand by 2035.