Natural Gas Now Produces More U.S. Emissions Than Coal
For the first time since 1972, natural gas is leapfrogging coal as the biggest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. electricity sector, the Energy Information Administration reported last week.
“From 1990 to about 2005, consumption of coal and natural gas in the United States was relatively similar, but their emissions were different,” EIA reports. “Because coal has a higher carbon intensity, even in a year when consumption of coal and natural gas were nearly equal, such as 2005, energy-related CO2 emissions from coal were about 84% higher than those from natural gas.”
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
But now, “increases in natural gas consumption and decreases in coal consumption in the past decade have resulted in natural gas-related CO2 emissions surpassing those from coal.” Gas is expected to account for 10% more GHGs this year than coal.
Although U.S. natural gas and petroleum use have both increased in recent years, the decline of coal and rise of renewable energy reduced the country’s carbon intensity 10% between 2005 and 2015.