Carbon Emissions Projected Lowest Since '92, EIA cites natural gas

Aug 22, 2016

Affordable and abundant natural gas, largely from fields like Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale, are helping the United States lead the globe in reducing carbon emissions, according to the latest report from the United States Energy Information Administration’s Independent Statistics & Analysis.

The Washington Examiner reported

Carbon emissions from fossil fuels are projected to be less than 5.2 billion metric tons this year, the lowest since 1992, said Adam Sieminski, the head of the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department's statistical and analysis arm.

"The drop in CO2 emissions is largely the result of low natural gas prices, which have contributed to natural gas displacing a large amount of coal used for electricity generation," he said, commenting on the agency's latest monthly energy forecast released Tuesday.

Energy Forecast

Beyond environmental benefits, the EIA highlighted that consumers have also benefited “natural gas prices helped keep wholesale electricity prices towards the bottom of the 12-month range in spite of some higher peak demand levels that occurred towards the end of the month.”

Additional reports and experts predict continued, sustained growth in demand for clean-burning natural gas. From the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2016 report:

Consumption of natural gas worldwide is projected to increase from 120 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2012 to 203 Tcf in 2040 in the International Energy Outlook 2016 Reference case. By energy source, natural gas accounts for the largest increase in world primary energy consumption. Abundant natural gas resources and robust production contribute to the strong competitive position of natural gas among other resources. Natural gas remains a key fuel in the electric power sector and in the industrial sector. In the power sector, natural gas is an attractive choice for new generating plants because of its fuel efficiency. Natural gas also burns cleaner than coal or petroleum products, and as more governments begin implementing national or regional plans to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, they may encourage the use of natural gas to displace more carbon-intensive coal and liquid fuels.

World consumption of natural gas for industrial uses increases by an average of 1.7%/year, and natural gas consumption in the electric power sector increases by 2.2%/year, from 2012 to 2040 in the IEO2016 

world consumption

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