Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States dropped in 2009 for the second consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported on Feb. 16.
CO2 and other emissions fell 6 percent in 2009 and were at their lowest level since 1995, according to the EPA, which produces the annual inventory of emissions. The agency attributed the decline to the recession and a shift from coal to natural gas.
Overall emissions in the U.S. have risen by 7.4 percent since 1990, an annual average of 0.4 percent, the agency reported. Total emissions of greenhouse gases were 5.5 billion metric tons in 2009, down from 5.92 billion in 2008 and 6.12 billion in 2007, the last pre-recession year.

The downward trend indicated that the U.S. is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, a promise President Obama made to the United Nations. The numbers released on Feb. 16 indicated that the country was more than halfway to that goal.

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