Carpe Diem

More shockingly good news from the shale gas revolution: CO2 emissions will likely fall this year to 1991 levels

co2

John Hanger points out on his energy blog that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have fallen so sharply in the first three months of 2012 according to new data from the EIA, that total CO2 emissions this year are on track to drop to the lowest level since 1991, see chart above.

The key driver for the “shockingly good news” that CO2 emissions will probably fall this year to a two-decade low according to John is “the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, especially in the last 12 months. As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal’s 100 year reign on top of electricity markets (see related CD post on this energy milestone).  Let’s remember the speed and extent of gas’s rise and coal’s drop: coal had 52% of the market in 2000 and 48% in 2008.”

Indeed, as the chart above shows, it took 16 years for CO2 emissions to rise from 5,000 to 6,000 million metric tons, and then thanks to the shale gas revolution, only five years to go from 6,000 back down to 5,000 million metric tons.

John Hanger’s bottom line: “America’s carbon emissions may drop back close to 1990 levels this year. That result would have been thought impossible, even at the end of 2011.

But the shale gas revolution makes a reality many things recently thought impossible.  It was thought impossible to slash carbon US carbon emissions back to 1990 levels by 2012.  It was thought impossible to massively, quickly cut carbon emissions and, at the same time, have lower energy bills.

Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year.  Truly astonishing!”

MP: And unlike renewable energies like solar that reduce carbon emissions but are uneconomical even with billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars, the shale gas revolution has significantly reduced CO2 emissions without any taxpayer support and wasn’t even part of any intentional energy policy from Washington, or any regulatory directive from the EPA.

Welcome to the shale gas revolution!

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