Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Desired Trend

Down

Current Trend

Baseline (2008/2010): 23.58 MTCO2e
Current: Unavailable

Theme Green

Definition

Total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per capita

Why is it Important?

Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are compounds that prevent heat from escaping the earth’s atmosphere, which causes the greenhouse effect and contributes to global climate change. Human activities that involve burning fossil fuels such as electricity production and transportation are the largest sources of man-made GHGs. Other man-made sources of GHGs include deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices. The primary types of GHG emissions are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O).1 Each gas has a unique ability to trap heat, which is measured by its Global Warming Potential (GWP). Total GHG emissions are measured by converting each gas to carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) according to its GWP.

How are we Doing?

On average, residents in St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis emit 23.5 metric tons of CO2 equivalents (MTCO­2e) per capita each year (based on data for 2008 and 2010).2 GHG emissions per capita in the St. Louis area are slightly higher than the United States average, which was 23.2 MTCO2e per capita in 2008 and 22.1 MTCO2e per capita in 2010. In the city of St. Louis, greenhouse gas emissions decreased from 24.6 MTCO2e per capita in 2005 to 23.6 MTCO2e per capita in 2010, a decrease of four percent. Greenhouse gas emissions also declined in the United States over the last decade, from 25.1 MTCO2e per capita in 2000 to 21.5 MTCO2e per capita in 2011.

Geographic Level

St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis (data for additional areas within the eight county region will be added if it becomes available)

Notes

1U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2011, EPA, 12 April 2013; accessed on January 7 2014 at http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/ghgemissions/US-GHG-Inventory-2013-Main-Text.pdf

2Data is not available for the entire St. Louis region because data is only compiled when a local agency completes a greenhouse gas inventory. 

Data Sources

St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis