CO2 Emissions Level Drops to 18-Year Low

Monday, April 29, 2013
CO2 emissions from coal-fired plant

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the U.S. have dropped to their lowest level in nearly two decades, and natural gas may be a big reason why.

 

About 5.3 billion metric tons of CO2 were released last year—which was the lowest level recorded since 1994 and a drop of 12% since the peak in 2005. CO2 is widely considered to be a major contributor to artificial climate change.

 

Some energy experts say it’s because the U.S. is relying more on natural gas to produce electricity at the expense of coal, a big producer of CO2.

 

About 30% of the nation’s electricity is now generated from natural gas, compared to 16% in 2000. Meanwhile, coal-based electricity is down to 38% from 52% in 2000. There has also been a 3% rise in the production of energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar.

 

David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, told the Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference: “Natural gas is in the process of wiping out the coal industry, and it’s wiping out the nuclear industry quicker than we thought.”

 

Although the United States is the world’s second largest producer of CO2 emissions (behind China), the biggest culprits per capita are small nations, such as Qatar, Trinidad and Tobago and United Arab Emirates.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky

 

To Learn More:

CO2 Emissions in US Plunge to 1994 Levels as Natural Gas Booms (by Jason Dorrier, Singularity Hub)

U.S. CO2 Emissions Fall to Lowest Level Since 1994 (mongabay.com)

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions Declined in 2012 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

U.S. Leads the World in Cutting CO2 Emissions…With Help from Fracking and Poor Economy (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

U.S. Leads the World in Cutting CO2 Emissions…With Help from Fracking and Poor Economy (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Comments

Anne McGowan 3 years ago
How is this measured? Are the other greenhouse gases (such as methane released from fracking operations) measured, too?

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