U.S. Carbon Emissions Drop, Europe's Increase:

Despite American inaction on climate change, emissions dropped in 2006. The AP reports:

The department's Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that preliminary data shows a 1.3 percent decline in the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide released in 2006 from energy-related sources, the first decline in 11 years and the biggest decline since 1990. . . .

Whether the decline of 78 million metric tons was an anomaly, or an indicator of something more, was unclear.

The Energy Department report said one reason for the decline was that 2006 had "weather conditions favorable for emission reductions." . . .

In 2006 there was a mild winter that reduced heating degree days by 7.4 percent, and a cooler than normal summer that cut cooling-degree days by 1 percent, both compared to 2005, the agency said. . . .

Carbon dioxide from natural gas declined by 1.7 percent and coal _which accounts for the most carbon emissions per unit of energy produced of any fossil fuel — was down 0.9 percent. Emissions from burning gasoline and diesel increased, but those increases were offset by declines in other petroleum fuels such as heating oil, said the agency.

The reductions resulted in the largest decline in carbon intensity — the amount of emissions related to economic growth — since 1990 with a reduction of 4.5 percent, said the report.

Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions increased in the E.U., in part because European governments allocated excess emission credits due to industry pressure. The Guardian reports:

In 2006, industry emitted about 30m tonnes less than permitted. German emissions rose 0.6% while overall EU emissions went up by 1%-1.5% because of resumed growth in the eurozone.

EU officials claim their efforts will become more successful as they clamp down on the volume of emission permits.