Fracking has unleashed vast new supplies of natural gas in the United States and looks like it will do so around the world. Cheap natural gas (and admittedly new Environmental Protection Agency regulations on carbon dioxide emissions at power plants) is causing electric generation companies to shift from coal. Coal emits about twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas does. The result is that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have been falling. Last week, the Financial Times reported:
The shale gas boom has led to a big drop in US carbon emissions, as generators switch from coal to cheap gas.
According to the International Energy Agency, US energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, have fallen 450m tonnes over the past five years – the largest drop among all countries surveyed...
Gas is fast becoming the new fuel of choice for the US power sector: in the past 12 months, coal generation has slumped by 19 per cent while gas generation has increased by 38 per cent, according to US Department of Energy figures. A gas-fired plant produces half the CO2 emissions of a coal-fired one.