U.S. greenhouse gases up 2 percent in 2004

? Emissions of gases blamed for warming the atmosphere grew by 2 percent in the United States last year, the Energy Department reported Monday.

The so-called greenhouse gases, led by carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, rose to 7.12 million metric tons, up from 6.98 million metric tons in 2003, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said.

That’s 16 percent higher than in 1990, and an average annual increase of 1.1 percent.

About 80 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases last year was carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels – coal, petroleum and natural gas – for electricity, transportation, manufacturing and other industrial processes.

The U.N. conference’s Kyoto Protocol, which took effect among developing countries last year despite President Bush’s rejection of it in 2001, had called for nations to cut their 1990 levels of “greenhouse” gas emissions by 5 percent by 2012.

Instead, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 would be nearly 25 percent higher than they were in 1990 if they continue at the current pace of growth.