EIA says energy-related CO2 emissions dipped in 2011

Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States fell 2.4% in 2011, compared to 2010 levels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Sept. 10.

A weak economy, weather, changes in fuel prices and increased use of natural gas for power generation all figured into the decline, EIA said on its website.

Energy-related CO2 emissions have declined domestically for four of the past six years, EIA said.

Economic growth as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.8% in 2011, slower than the 2.4% growth in 2010. 

Because the decline in CO2 emissions occurred in a growing economy, the carbon intensity of the economy fell. “This was mainly a result of using less energy or, in some cases, using less carbon-intensive energy, to achieve the same economic output,” EIA said.

On the weather front, warmer temperatures in the summer of 2011 resulted in a modest increase in the amount of energy needed for cooling, EIA said. The relatively mild winter also brought a significant drop in energy required for heating.

In the power sector, generation from natural gas, the least carbon intensive of the fossil fuels, increased by 3%, while generation from coal decreased by 6%. Meanwhile, power generation from renewable sources continues to rise, EIA said.



About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.