Americans alone account for a large share of pollution and damage to the planet. But since carbon dioxide emissions peaked at over 6 billion metric tons in 2007, the nation has consistently lowered its emissions despite growing economically, according to Time Magazine.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its 2012 carbon emissions report and found that consumption declined by 3.8 percent thanks to an increase of natural gas use, energy-efficient products, and a warmer-than-usual winter.
“Although [gross domestic product] increased by 2.8 percent in 2012, energy consumption fell by 2.4 percent in 2012,” according to the EIA report. “The emissions decline was the largest in a year with positive growth in per capita output and the only year to show a decline where per capita output increased 2 percent or more.”
Could this be a sign that change is truly happening in the U.S.? Americans switched from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy sources and natural gas in droves in 2012—carbon intensity fell to record lows.
Part of this has to do with energy-efficient equipment, which has lessened waste in electricity and fuel consumption. For example, when the auto industry began to make cars that are able to manage more miles per gallon, carbon emissions fell.
Despite these significant improvements, businesses should continue increasing their green recycling efforts. Instead of adding to waste by throwing away furniture and buying brand new, companies can purchase used office furnishings. Oftentimes, these products are made with materials that are hard to recycle and take years to break down, therefore by recycling these products businesses can contribute to the lowering carbon emissions effort.