America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen 12 percent since 2005, due to increased natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to a report published Monday by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA report attributes falling CO2 emissions to “decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.” Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power and is already cheaper than coal in many locations due to fracking. The EIA estimates that roughly 68 percent of the falling CO2 emissions are due to the switch from coal to natural gas.
Fracking cut more CO2 emissions than solar or wind power, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute.
The study shows that solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.
“The transition from coal to natural gas for electricity generation has probably been the single largest contributor to the … largely unexpected decline in U.S. CO2 emissions” says Berkeley Earth, concurring with more formal assessments from the Department of Energy.
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 1,022 million tons, making them significantly lower than their peak in 2007.
The U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than in any other country, a fact that even The Sierra Club acknowledges, though the group refuse to attribute the decline in emissions to natural gas a source of energy they oppose politically.
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