Carbon Dioxide

U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Drop by 3.8 Percent


Alexmillos: Dreamstime

According to Bloomberg BNA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide are down significantly. Thanks largely to greater natural gas production made possible, in part, by fracking. From Bloomberg BNA:

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption and production declined 3.8 percent in 2012, reaching their lowest level since 1994, the Energy Information Administration said in a report released Oct. 21.

Annual carbon dioxide emissions associated with the energy sector totaled 5,290 million metric tons in 2012, a decrease from 5,498 million metric tons in 2011, and a 12 percent decrease from a peak of 6,023 million metric tons in 2007, according to the EIA.

The decline came even as the U.S. economy grew by 2.8 percent in 2012, the EIA said in its report "U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2012." That was the largest emissions decline recorded in a year with positive population growth as well, the agency said.

Reduced energy demand in 2012 meant the overall carbon intensity of the economy, expressed in carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product, declined 6.5 percent that year, the EIA said. That is the largest annual drop observed since the agency began keeping records in 1949. Only 1952 and 1981 have recorded drops in the economy's carbon intensity greater than 5 percent, the agency said….

The shift from coal to natural gas is responsible for nearly 60 percent of the reductions, the report said. The remainder is due to increases in renewable and nuclear power generation, it said.

It is an enduring puzzle why environmental activists oppose the only energy production technologies (gas and nuclear) that actually make a big dent in carbon dioxide emissions from energy production.