Greenhouse gas emissions from the US energy sector are likely to have risen by as much 2% in 2013, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA only recently revealed that national energy-related carbon emissions had reached their lowest point for nearly two decades in 2012, saying the improvement was largely driven by the substitution of natural gas – which is slightly less carbon intensive – for coal in electricity production.
However, a doubling of gas prices and an increase in energy consumption allowed coal to recover some of its market share. In October, coal provided around 39% of North America’s electricity, while only 28% came from natural gas, the new figures show.
As a result, some 5.38 billion tons of carbon dioxide were released into the air in 2013, up from 5.27 billion tons emitted in 2012.
The government has committed to cutting emissions 17% on 2005 levels by 2020, and even with last year’s step backwards, the US is over half way towards achieving this target. However the EIA expect US coal production to increase by 36m short tons in 2014.
Furthermore, even when natural gas displaces coal in US energy generation, this same coal has still been mined and burnt elsewhere. The EIA estimated that 118m short tons of coal would be exported to other countries in 2013, with an extra 105m short tons to be shipped abroad in 2014.
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow in October, Róisín Moriarty, senior research associate at the Global Carbon Project, said that fuel exported and burnt elsewhere can be even more environmentally damaging.
“If that coal is exported to a country with less efficient methods of producing electricity from coal than those currently used in the US then more coal needs to be burnt to produce the equivalent amount of electricity and this means an increase in associated emissions”, she said.
In November, climate scientists estimated that 2013 would prove to be a record year for energy-related carbon emissions globally. The Global Carbon Budget report estimated that emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal reached 36 billion tonnes last year – a 2.1% rise from 2012.
While China contributed over a quarter of the total (27%), it matched the EU (10%) when it came to emissions per capita. The US (14%) and India (6%) also made large contributions in absolute terms.
Like our Facebook Page
Eco-Friendly Decisions That Will Enhance Your Quality of Life
List of Fantastic Places for Green Consumers to Settle in South Carolina
6 Amazing Eco-Friendly Bedroom Design Ideas for Sustainable Homeowners
5 Great Ways to be a More Environmentally-Friendly Cannabis User
Amazing Approaches to Cycling for Promoting a Greener Lifestyle
Understanding The True Environmental Impact of Dentistry
Incredibly Important Benefits of Effective Ethically Made Anti-Virus Face Masks
Best Natural and Eco-Friendly Ways to Treat Dog Ailments
Green Entrepreneurs Find Creative Ways to Balance Ethical Goals with their Retirement Objectives
The Surprising Environmental Benefits of Using an Organic Mattress
From Store to Door with Minimal Impact: How Companies Are Eco-Friendly Innovators
A Guide to Investing In Renewable Energy Stocks in 2021
Creative Ideas to Practice Eco-friendlier Consumerism
Hawkers Launch a Truly Innovative Eco-Friendly Sunglass Line
Everything You Need to Know Before You Start Using Renewable Energy in 2021
The Curtis Institute of Music Makes Facilities More Energy Efficient
What Can Ecotourists Learn from Visiting Chernobyl?
5 Essentials for Promising Eco-Friendly Businesses to Thrive in a New Economy
Charity Organizations Who Are Taking Steps to Become More Environmentally Friendly
Mastering the Art of Trading Bitcoins Profitably and Sustainably
- Editors Choice12 months ago
10 Green Companies With Amazing Environmental Initiatives
- Features12 months ago
5 Sustainable Home Improvement Ideas To Improve Your Home’s Value
- Energy12 months ago
10 Amazing Energy Saving Hacks for Spring
- Invest11 months ago
4 Super Simple Solutions To Create The Perfect Eco-Friendly Home