Washington Despite growing concerns about climate change, heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions jumped 2.7 percent in the United States last year, the biggest increase since the mid-1990s, the Energy Department reported Friday.
Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the most prevalent of the so-called "greenhouse" gases whose growing concentration in the atmosphere is believed to be warming the earth. Many scientists believe such warming will cause severe climate changes over the next 100 years if not curtailed.
The United States and other industrial countries agreed in 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to pursue voluntary actions to try to bring greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2000.
After it became clear the goal would not be achieved, the same countries agreed in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, to mandatory commitments to reduce the emissions by 2012. Recently, President Bush rejected the Kyoto deal, saying he wanted to deal with climate change largely through voluntary action and technological improvements.