NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

United States Cutting Carbon Dioxide Production Dramatically

July 27, 2012

The United States is dramatically cutting its production of carbon dioxide. Proof of that has come from both the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Reports from these agencies and others confirm that the United States is leading the way globally in the campaign to cut emissions.

  • On May 24, the IEA reported that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions "have now fallen by 430 million tons (7.7 percent) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions."
  • The reasons for that big reduction, says the IEA, are lower oil use, the economic downturn, "and a substantial shift from coal to gas in the power sector."

IEA's assertion that much of the reduction in emissions stems from efficiency gains due to the greater exploitation of natural gas is crucial. Because the United States is a leader in this industry and is among the first to employ it widely, it will likely lead the way in cutting emissions in the near future.

  • During the first four months of this year, coal-fired electricity generation in the United States fell by 21 percent compared to the same period last year, while gas-fired generation soared by 34 percent.
  • This contributed to a drop in carbon dioxide emissions of 7.8 percent from the first quarter in 2011.
  • Meanwhile, complicated environmental emissions standards in Europe have actually led energy producers there to increase output from coal while shelving natural gas.

In addition, earlier this month, Lawrence M. Cathles, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, published a new study that found that utilizing natural gas to displace coal would be far faster and cheaper than attempting to use nuclear energy and renewables, and better yet, could reduce global carbon emissions by as much as 40 percent.

Nevertheless, much of the environmental lobby remains adamantly opposed to the use of natural gas, despite its cleanliness advantage over coal and the fact that it produces seven times more electricity than wind and solar combined.

Source: Robert Bryce, "Inside the Strange World of 'Green Energy' Politics and How It's Ruining the U.S.," Fox News, July 17, 2012.

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