Total energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the U.S. rose in 2018 for the first time since 2014, according to a statement by the country's Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Tuesday.
Energy-related CO2 emissions last year increased to 5.27 billion metric tons or 2.7% more than levels seen in 2017.
The main reasons for the increase were higher natural gas-related emissions resulting from more extreme summer and winter weather, and growth in transportation-related petroleum emissions, the EIA said.
Despite the increase in emissions last year, the U.S.' energy-related CO2 emissions declined in six of the past 10 years, and they were 12% lower in 2018 than in 2005, according to the EIA.
Coal-related CO2 emissions declined by 4% in 2018, to make coal the only fossil fuel with lower CO2 emissions in 2018 compared to 2017.
While total emissions from natural gas first surpassed emissions from coal in 2015, gas consumption has increasingly displaced coal consumption in the U.S.' electric power sector in recent years, the EIA said.
Petroleum consumption in the U.S. also increased in 2018, contributing to a 1.9% rise in energy-related CO2 emissions from petroleum.
Strong economic growth in the U.S. led to growth in diesel consumption, which resulted in a 6% increase in CO2 emissions, according to the EIA.
By Ovunc Kutlu