U.S. carbon dioxide emissions continue to track lower than year 2000 levels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported on Monday, extending this century’s downward trend in U.S. emissions. The new data rebut assertions that the United States needs to impose new restrictions on coal-fired power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide emissions.
Interestingly, EIA reports U.S. emissions rose more than 15% during the eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration but have declined since.
The primary reason for emissions remaining on a downward trajectory this century is the increasing number of natural gas-fired power plants. Recent discoveries of immense amounts of natural gas trapped in shale rock, coupled with the development of new technologies to capture and produce such shale gas, are driving natural gas prices down. U.S. power plants currently produce 50% more power from natural gas than during the year 2000. Natural gas power emits approximately 40% less carbon dioxide than coal power. (Natural gas power also slashes many pollutants tracked by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by more than 80%.)
You can read more at my Forbes.com column, available here.