Fracking, Not Renewables, Is Responsible For Emissions Reduction

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

The biggest cause of CO2 emissions reduction is America’s fracking natural gas boom, not solar or wind power, according to a study by the Manhattan Institute.

The study shows that solar power is responsible for 1 percent of the decline in U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 1,022 million tons, making them significantly lower than their peak in 2007. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.

The U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than in any other country, a fact which even the Sierra Club acknowledges, though they refuse to attribute the decline in emissions to natural gas that they oppose politically.

“Actual technologies that work at scale are ignored by activists in favor of their politically favored technologies” said Oren Cass, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the study’s lead author, in a phone interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“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.

Wind and solar power together generated less electricity in the first half of 2015 than in the first half of 2014, and investment in the industry has been flat for almost five years, domestically and globally.

Since achieving a 60 percent increase in 2008, growth in total wind and solar generation has been consistently slowing and investment has declined. Wind and Solar generation grew by only 33 percent in 2009, 28 percent in 2010, 27 percent in 2011, 19 percent in 2012, 22 percent in 2013, and 13 percent in 2014.

Wind and solar accounted for only 4.4 and 0.4 percent respectively of all energy generated in the United States in 2014 according to the Energy Information Administration. Wind and solar power are both inefficient and unreliable compared to traditional methods of generating energy.

Hydraulic fracturing of shale gas is creating an incredible amount of new natural gas production, making the United States the world’s largest and fastest growing producer of natural gas. It even surpassed Russia’s production earlier this year.

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