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U.S. Sees Drop in CO2 Levels as Natural Gas Use Goes Up

Mar 21, 2017

EIA GlobalCarbonEmissionsA sharp drop in U.S. emissions due in large part to increased use of natural gas is keeping global levels of CO2 flat. ​That's according to a Financial Times report on the latest data coming out of the International Energy Agency (IEA.) In the article, Environment Correspondent Pilita Clark writes:

A striking drop in carbon pollution in the US, where emissions fell back to what they were in 1992, helped to keep global CO2 levels in 2016 virtually unchanged from the two previous years, the International Energy Agency said.

"This is a very welcome development," said Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. "It appears we now have the first signs of an established trend of flat emissions as a result of natural gas replacing coal in major markets and renewables becoming more and more affordable."

In its report released on March 17, 2017, the IEA states:

For the first time, electricity generation from natural gas was higher than from coal last year in the United States.

​With the appropriate policies, and large amounts of shale reserves, natural gas production in the United States could keep growing strongly in the years to come. This could have three main consequences: it could boost domestic manufacturing, supply more competitive gas to Asia through to LNG exports, and provide alternative gas supplies to Europe.  U.S. and natural gas prospects will be explored in details in the next World Energy Outlook 2017.

​In the European Union, emissions were largely stable last year as gas demand rose about 8% and coal demand fell 10%. Renewables also played a significant, but smaller, role. The United Kingdom saw a significant coal-to-gas switching in the power sector, thanks to cheaper gas and a carbon price floor.​

For More Information:
​Sharp drop in US emissions keep global levels flat
IEA finds CO2 emissions flat for third straight year as global economy grew in 2016