An interesting article that probably wont get much attention.
July 24, 2012| By Paul Mauldin
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently announced that U.S. CO2 emissions have now fallen by 7.7% since 2006. That’s the largest CO2 emission reduction of any country in the world. What’s more, CO2 levels are still dropping and are expected to reach 1996 levels by the end of the year.
There are several reasons for emissions continuing to go down since 2007. Probably the biggest driver is the gradual fuel-switching away from coal as the price of natural gas plunged due to increased supply. For a century, coal has been the major fuel for electric production in the U.S. However, this spring natural gas caught up with its cousin. Now coal and gas are equally used for power production, each producing about a third of the total. Molecule for molecule, burning of natural gas emits about half of the carbon that coal does. Ergo – more gas, less coal and CO2 emissions go down.
Despite increasing demand, natural gas prices have dropped, and are expected to stay down. This good news is due to new shale gas resources made possible by increased exploration and fracking technologies. At the same time, coal is under attack by the EPA to the extent that new rulings may almost exclude any new coal plants from being built and may cause a number of existing plants to close.
Of course, other factors have contributed to decreased U.S. emissions. The crummy economy certainly has. But on the positive side, vast improvements and implementation of process energy efficiencies and pollution control technologies have let us clean up our act.
A lot of good news, right? But there has been no dancing in the streets, no DOE or EPA press briefings, no mention on major news networks – nothing but the dry EIA report and a few bloggers here and there.
As a nation we seem pathologically stuck on breast-beating and poor-mouthing ourselves, particularly when it comes to greenhouse gas and global warming.
And that’s too bad, because reductions in U.S. CO2 emissions result mostly from American technological ingenuity and the economics of supply and demand – things that neither the mass media (nor our government) talk much about.