Historic Drop in U.S. Carbon Emissions: Experts Skeptical of Impact to Slow Climate Change

A recent article in New Scientist reports that even though carbon emissions are lower than they have been in twenty years, climate change is not slowing down. The price of natural gas has decreased due to hydraulic fracturing, and natural gas has been a preferred source of energy based on its inexpensive price tag. This has caused reduced carbon emissions, but is not likely to have an effect on climate change. Along with people at the grassroots level, those in major corporations, universities, and governments, are making significant advancements in energy conservation and clean energy.

Reducing Our Carbon Footprint

Some people see gas as a good transition fuel that can be used in the interim until sufficient wind farms and solar arrays are constructed. Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester, UK, believes that gas cannot be used as a lesser evil energy while making a transition to greener fuels. He thinks that in order to achieve the 2° C goal, we need to make a rapid transition to low carbon energy.

The Energy Collective has written a humorous article comparing America’s energy consumption behavior to that of someone with an eating disorder, advising that weight loss is healthy when it takes place over the long term and with discipline. In some respects our carbon weight is like real weight, and while we are at a long term low, natural gas is no substitute for clean energy. Utilizing recycling services at republicservices.com will help you contribute to energy and waste reduction.

Heating Things Up

Earthsky.org reported that this past summer was the third-hottest in recorded U.S. history, and a mild winter earlier in the year should have been an indicator that this year was going to heat up. The U.S. is failing to create the necessary choices to adequately reduce carbon consumption. According to The International Energy Agency, gas will cause a disaster if aggressively consumed over the medium-term.

Recent national carbon reduction is an excellent development, but it doesn’t replace adherence to a healthy energy policy. When coal companies can push their product to eager consumers in a multitude of foreign countries, planet Earth is still affected. It is essential to stay on the path of clean energy without distraction by less inferior products.

Stats Speak For Themselves

The 2012 Benchmarking Air Emissions report looked at 2010-2011 data to determine trends in the following power plant pollutants: sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), mercury (Hg) and nitrogen oxide (NOx). One hundred utilities operating 2,500 power plants were included. These plants produced 86% of electricity generation and 88% of all emissions in the U.S. The good news is that three of the four pollutants studied experienced significant decline.

This improvement was attributed to cleaner energy replacing coal as a result of an increase in natural gas as well as wind and solar energy. Since 2004 utilities have doubled renewable energy sources. Currently 5% of our energy is renewable. Natural gas and coal each provide about 32% of all U.S. electrical generation.

Going Solar

As an example of transition from dirty to much cleaner, Southern Company –a utility in the Southwest with 43,000 MWs of generating capacity– is one of the most intense coal power producers in the country. Southern will increase its natural gas consumption for the first time in its long history. It also owns and operates the largest U.S. biomass plant. In a partnership with media mogul Ted Turner, Southern owns a 30 MW solar PV plant in New Mexico, and they have just purchased yet another solar facility.

This article was contributed by Aubrey Boone. Aubrey studied in Los Angeles with some of the finest chefs. She started documenting her experiences and now contributes to various foodie blogs.

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One Response to “Historic Drop in U.S. Carbon Emissions: Experts Skeptical of Impact to Slow Climate Change”

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