CO2 from Coal in the US: Good News

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Carbon dioxide emissions from US power generation have declined by over a quarter since 2005, according to a recent report from the US government. The largest part of this reduction is from reduced demand, with switching around among fossil fuels that are less vs more dirty and adding non carbon sources combine to make about the same difference. Like this:

From the US Department of Energy

The following graph shows the total generation and the total CO2 output of the US electricity generation system, comparing 2007 and 2017. Solar and wind don’t show up in 2005, but are a nice little chuck in 2017 (progress but too slow). Combined, non-carbon (still with nuclear as the largest part) went from 28% to 38% at the expense of fossil fuels. Within fossil fuel, there was a husge shift from coal towards natural gas. What we need to do now is to stop switching to methane, and start switching only to wind and solar. Right now.

From the US Department of Energy


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3 thoughts on “CO2 from Coal in the US: Good News

  1. Not bad. In 12 years we switched 10% from fossil to non-fossil. If we can keep switching over at 10% per 12 years, in just 24 years we will only be generating 42% from fossil fuels. Building more nuclear power plants would also help accelerate that trend.

  2. Let’s not forget that the US – in common with Europe and elsewhere – essentially exported emissions, mainly to China. The global total continued to rise across the entire period, driven by the growth in Chinese emissions as China became the workshop of the world. So I have very little time for EU pols or US pols patting themselves on the back over an illusory decarbonisation ‘success’.

    What we need to do now is to stop switching to methane, and start switching only to wind and solar. Right now.

    +1. As I keep complaining, gas is a bridge to nowhere. And IMHO, the gas industry is cleverly positioning itself to become the third leg of a W+S energy mix by midcentury, thus ensuring its survival and future profits and guaranteeing that deep decarbonisation of the electrical sector will never happen.

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