So why do we need Kyoto? Plummeting U.S. CO2 emissions Thanks a little bit to economic stagnation, but mostly to the boom in natural gas, the U.S. â the only large rich country not to sign the Kyoto Protocol â has seen its CO2 emissions tumble to levels not seen since the early 1990s. More drops are expected to follow. Global emissions (that's what really matters) continue to soar, but China is the main driver now. The U.S. is subtracting from total emissions growth now. US CO2 emissions per capita in 2012 were the lowest since 1964 "As we observe Earth Day on April 22, we should celebrate the fact that we have ârolled back the carbon clockâ by almost 50 years on a per capita basis in the US, and CO2 emissions per capita are expected to fall within the next 20 years to the lowest level in almost a century. Moreover, we should celebrate the fact that the US now leads the world in reducing CO2 emissions. And itâs important to recognize that the significant reduction in CO2 emissions over the last five years in the US was not the result of any intentional or planned energy policy, and it didnât happen because of EPA restrictions on C02 emissions, or because of carbon taxes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, it was the totally unexpected and unplanned outcome of the shale revolution, which resulted from advances in drilling technologies developed in the private sector that allowed âpetropreneursâ to access previously inaccessible oceans of shale gas trapped in shale rock miles below the Earthâs surface."