Emissions in rich nations fell in 2012

Reuters

Industrialized nations’ greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.3 percent in 2012 as the U.S. posted its lowest level in almost two decades amid a shift to natural gas from dirtier coal, official statistics show.

Emissions from more than 40 nations were 10 percent below 1990 levels in 2012, according to a Reuters compilation of national data submitted to the U.N. in recent days. The data are the main gauge of efforts to halt global warming. Still, with emissions rising elsewhere, experts said the rate of decline was too slow to limit average world temperature rises to 2 degrees above pre-industrial times, a ceiling set by almost 200 nations to avert droughts, heat waves and rising seas.

Total emissions from the industrialized nations fell to 17.3 billion tons in 2012 from 17.5 billion in 2011, and compared with 19.2 billion in 1990, the base year for the U.N.’s climate change convention.

Among other major nations, emissions dipped in Canada in 2012 but rose in Russia, Japan and Australia.