Beacon article on Grist.org by Zoya Teirstein
The electric power sector’s obsession with coal is waning — natural gas, a fuel that emits less CO2 but releases boatloads of methane *, is the next big thing. (https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/3227/2016/)
That means the industry isn’t producing as many carbon emissions. I know, I know, this isn’t really gonna cut it as we hurtle toward a significantly hotter planet.
But check this out.
The decline in CO2 emissions from the power sector in 2017 — 4.6 percent — was enough to offset greenhouse gases produced by all other business sectors.
That’s according to a recent report from the Department of Energy.(https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=36953)
We can thank natural gas and renewables like wind and solar for the dip in CO2, but less demand for electricity (yes, demand is dropping!- https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities) is also a factor.
So really this was a team effort.
Good work, everyone.
Electricity sales are the lowest they’ve been in around a decade, in part because weather overall is getting milder, the report says. Warmer winters mean less heat.
The report also notes that cooler summers mean Americans are using less electricity … to which I say: what?? We just had the fourth warmest summer on record and the hottest summer since 2012.
Despite the Department of Energy’s apparent heat-induced amnesia, this report is, overall, buoying. CO2 emissions in the U.S.A. are now 14 percent lower than they were in 2005.
*ED NOTE: Seems to be some confusion here. Natural gas is nearly 100% methane and it is only a problem when it leaks.