USA CO2 emissions may drop to 1990 levels this year

I graphed the EIA data, shown below. What is most interesting is that this is market driven, not mandate driven.

Amazing Shale: US CO2 Emissions Plummet Towards 1990 Levels

by John Hanger (via The GWPF)

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 of many things recently thought impossible. Shale gas production has slashed carbon emissions and saved consumers more than $100 billion per year. Truly astonishing!

For US energy-related carbon emissions, fuel switching to gas is back to the future.  After the first quarter, the USA’s 2012 emissions are falling sharply again and may drop to 1990 levels, or just slightly above that important milestone, according to data in EIA’s latest Monthy Energy Review.

America’s energy related carbon emissions fell about 7.5%, during the first three months of 2012 compared to the same period of 2011.  And first quarter 2012 emissions are approximately 8.5% lower than emissions in the first quarter of 2010.

Total energy carbon emissions were 5,473 million tons in 2011 and last year fell below the 1996 mark of 5,501 million tons.

The first quarter 2012 reduction of 7.5% makes it possible that this year emissions will fall back essentially to the 1990 level of 5,039 million tons.  That is shockingly good news.

The 1990 level of carbon emissions is an important measuring stick, as it is often used as a critical data point for judging progress in reducing a nation’s carbon emissions.

Why are US carbon emissions plummeting back to 1990 levels?

First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production, as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency.  Yet, the shale gas revolution, and the low-priced gas that it has made a reality, is the key driver of falling carbon emissions, 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.  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.

Apart from power production, reductions of carbon emissions from the transportation sector since 2007 are pushing down US Carbon emissions.  First quarter 2012 transportation emissions declined by about 0.6%, compared to the same period in 2011.  Rising fuel efficiency and some switching to lower carbon fuels are the main causes of falling transportation emissions.

The bottom line is that 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!

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101 Responses to USA CO2 emissions may drop to 1990 levels this year

  1. Lady Life Grows says:

    Is this supposed to be good news?
    America continues to starve the world’s hungry.
    And all those endangered species are carbon-based life forms, too.

    But at least we’re using our shale.

  2. ExWarmist says:

    Fracking – saving the planet one CO2 molecule at a time (if you believe that CO2 is an issue).

    Will fracking be rehabilitated by the envirozealots for this wonderful contribution – never.

    The scare is the medium – not the message. (The message is control)

  3. tokyoboy says:

    You are damaging the natural ecosystem by not increasing CO2 in the air!! / sarc

  4. Wagathon says:

    It is only American CO2 that is a problem so… problem solved.

  5. G. Karst says:

    And the warmists will be sure to claim the credit as a direct result of their policies and exaggerated science. GK

  6. Comme toujours!
    Quel surprise!

  7. DirkH says:

    German government has declared moratorium on fracking.
    Our parties must all be infiltrated by Putin’s KGB. Or alternatively, terminally stupid.

  8. Richard G says:

    More CO2 = More Sugar!

  9. danj says:

    It’s a “no brainer” if Obumble and Company will stop putting up road blocks to shale drilling and development. Even Scotland is getting on board…

  10. John Hanger writes. “First and foremost are sharp reductions from electric power production as a result of fuel switching from coal to gas, rising renewable energy production, and increasing efficiency.”

    In China power production has also fallen, not from increase use of natural gas or energy efficiency but, because of an economic slow down. Less power is being consumed in the manufacturing process.

    My question, is how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy? Less energy is being consumed as the economy is continuing to slide down hill. Is that slide contributing to the decline in CO2 emissions? How much?

  11. gallopingcamel says:

    Wouldn’t it be marvelous if the governement had the ability to back winners like shale gas rather than losers like windmills or solar panels?

    Our government needs to get out of the way and let the market separate the winners from the losers.

  12. Pamela Gray says:

    This is good news? Hell no. Increased efficiencies mean that people are not driving as much. In plain language, when you don’t have a freaking job, you don’t drive as much. That makes you more efficient. That also means you are not buying as much. The downturn matches the slow economy and number of people out of work. This is simple math.

  13. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    Too bad ENRON is not around to see the victory of gas over coal. They were busy cornering the gas supply market with a view to making big bucks from a legislated banning of coal burning in order to reduce CO2 emissions thought at that time (by some) to be responsible for unprecedented heating of the planet.

    In order for this to happen it was expected that the banning of coal combustion would be required so they funded (to the tune of millions) alarmist propaganda that was intended to promote CAGW to the point of the ban becoming becoming law, guaranteeing a rise in the price of natural gas.

    That couldn’t happen, right? I mean, who would promote a greedy profit-grab by a giant evil corporation intent on burning the economy to the ground by indirectly taxing energy pointlessly and trying to turn it into partisan political issue to get favourable legislation in the service of that narrow benefit?

    Australia, I suppose. But is any other country dumb enough to do that?

  14. nc says:

    What was the temperature in 1990?:)

  15. A. Scott says:

    No … the the sky is falling AGW proponents simply could not let “clean” natural gas from frac wells go unchallenged – lowered CO2 will never do – must maintain alarm at all costs – even if it means cooking the books and fibbing.

    The NEW attack is that natural gas from shale frac’ing is WORSE THAN COAL! Yep – Horwath and Ingraffea from Cornell published a doom and gloom report claiming exactly that … claiming that the frac process releases large amounts of methane to the atmosphere – and that all that methane – a greenhouse gas more potent than CO2 – actually makes natural gas from frac processing worse than coal when it comes to CAGW.

    It would be nice to say they conveniently ignore some very key facts – but the truth is they carefully crafted their report to ignore and avoid important relevant facts that disprove their claim. Worse – they are supported and cheered on by “Gas Land” filmmaker and pro scare monger Josh Fox – he of the burning faucets videos.

    The most important is that while methane is more potent as a greenhouse gas – it also has a very short residence time in the atmosphere compared to CO2. A number of others who appear to actually be real scientists who care about truth and accuracy as opposed to advocacy masquerading as science all thoroughly refuted.

    It was shown their claims largely ignored that most methane is burned off at the well head – never reaching the atmosphere. Data from 90,000 wells show they dramatically overstate – hard data reduced their claims by half. And that methane is a valuable commodity – that is increasingly being captured at the well head.

    Paulina Jaramillo of Carnegie Mellon University is an expert on carbon footprint. She went back and studied the issue and found that even with high rates of methane leaking out, shale gas was still better than coal.

    Even the geology department at Cornell thinks their claims are bordering on silly. Larry Catho’s and his colleagues authored a rebuttal paper that showed these claims were vastly overstated

    AND as noted, they criticized the improper use of – or ignoring of – time scales. CO2 stays in atmosphere for 100+ years – methane a decade or less. Even if the methane had 100% of the global warming equivalency as the CO2 it reduces it is still a vast improvement. Ten years later it is gone – while the CO2 it replaces is around 100 years or more.

    This is IMO simple intellectual fraud. Ignoring clear facts to promote and advocate for the “cause.”

    Ingraffea says their scientific fraud doesn’t matter:

    “We don’t have 100 years to fix the problem, We don’t have 50 years to fix the problems. We have half a human generation, we have four presidential terms of office. Call it whatever you want, that’s the amount of time we have to fix the problem.”

    There is the smoking gun right there. You know they’re lying – that they are not scientists but simple blind advocates, when they ignore the fraud and excuse it with unsuppoorted and ridiculous scare mongering.

    Bring in the Clowns ….

    MORE HERE

    The GUARDIANS GARBAGE HERE

    Revkin weighs in HERE

  16. Sundance says:

    I revisited the cap and trade madness persued by Waxman-Markey and the Dems in 2009. Their target was a 17% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. In 2005 the USA emitted 5.997 Gt of energy related Co2 and the projected CO2 emissions of 5.039 Gt for 2012 would mean a reduction of 16% which would be just 1% shy of the cap and trade target.

  17. Sioned Lang says:

    Great news…no more need to strangle coal or electric companies with taxes, CO2 storage, or anything else…..BTW with this lower emission rate, how many jobs were lost?

  18. ExWarmist says:

    Russell Steele says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    My question, is how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy? Less energy is being consumed as the economy is continuing to slide down hill. Is that slide contributing to the decline in CO2 emissions? How much?

    Russell nails it. How much energy do the unemployed consume – not as much as people with jobs.

  19. Jim says:

    I guess we can thank O’Bumble and his economic downturn. CO2 should be going up! That’s a sign of progress. But it’s going down because people are out of work and all of the jobs are leaving overseas because there being strangled by National Socialistic EPA policies.

  20. Hey wait a second. Manmade co2 emissions have gone down and yet it was 118° in Kansas? There’s something wrong with “global warming” science!

  21. Khwarizmi says:

    Russell Steele says:
    My question, is how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Difficult to quantify, but it is probably a contributing factor…
    http://www.google.com/search?q=u.s.%2C+manufacturing%2C+decline

    US manufacturing shrinks for first time in 3 years – July 3, 2012
    “Production fell from 55.6 to 51 while new orders posted their biggest monthly drop in more than a decade, falling to 47.8 from 60.1 in May, indicating that demand is faltering dangerously.”
    http://www.ndtv.com/article/profit/us-manufacturing-shrinks-for-first-time-in-3-years-307242

  22. Wagathon says:

    I haven’t felt this cold in more than 20 years.

  23. Jack Simmons says:

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

    So this is why Ken Salazar does not care for state regulation of fracking?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/25/us-energy-salazar-idUSBRE85O19Q20120625

    U.S. needs Federal fracking rules: Salazar

    I don’t recall seeing any big environmental problems with all the fracking. Not that the Feds haven’t been frantically seeking ways to shut this technology down. Still no documented cases of polluted waters from leaking fracking operations getting into the water supplies.

    See http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/293086/truth-about-fracking-kevin-d-williamson

  24. Allan MacRae says:

    The radical enviros continue to oppose shale gas, and wildly exaggerate the negative impacts of fracking.

    The clear agenda of the radical enviros is now even more apparent – they want to starve the world of inexpensive energy that is needed for economic growth and political stability.

    They want people to be under-employed or unemployed and they want human populations to decline, in order to protect Mother Gaia from the depredations of humanity.

    The target of the radical enviros is not atmospheric CO2, good people, it is YOU.

    For more evidence, see
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/28/newsbytes-world-cooling-to-global-warming/#comment-1020878
    and
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/06/28/newsbytes-world-cooling-to-global-warming/#comment-1022591

  25. jdgalt says:

    How can you say the drop is market driven when it’s mainly in transportation? Doesn’t that make EPA’s deadly CAFE requirements responsible? (And mean it probably wasn’t worth it!)

  26. Earl says:

    I’ll reiterate; Russell nails it.

    “how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy? Less energy is being consumed as the economy is continuing to slide down hill. Is that slide contributing to the decline in CO2 emissions?”

    It’s the elephant in the room that no one can see, apparently. We are watching the biggest transfer of wealth in history, the only thing you might notice is decreased CO2 output. Do not notice that millions are losing their homes and jobs, # of people getting foodstamps has doubled in the last few years, etc, etc. A few bankers are allowed to create trillions of dollars out of thin air, loan it out all over the world, driving up the price of everything and then foreclose on the whole world as the ponzi collapses.

    The elephant in the room that you can’t see is going to run over you. It’s hilarious to me.

  27. wacojoe says:

    CO2 = PLANT FOOD
    

Learn It

    …Love It
    
…..Release It!

  28. Even if the methane had 100% of the global warming equivalency as the CO2 it reduces it is still a vast improvement.

    Its reckoned to have 25 times the GHW effect of CO2.

    We do have direct evidence of CH4 (methane) greenhouse gas warming from satellite measurements. Those same measurements show no significant CO2 GHW.

    George Bush, one of the few politicians who understood the science, introduced the Methane to Markets program, which paid methane emitters worldwide to capture (and sell) methane. The introduction of the program coincided with methane emissions plateauing and a few years later temperatures plateauing.

    Interestingly, when Obama partly shutdown the program, methane levels started to rise again.

    A good case can be made that GW Bush’s program has been the only political action that has had a measurable effect on the climate.

  29. Wombat says:

    Great News.

    … Still, there’s some way to go:

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Per-Capita-CO2-1024×696.png

    But given the recent upholding of the EPA’s Greenhouse gas rules, we be seeing the start to a slow chipping away of these emissions.

  30. Carrick says:

    Wombat, when you make the comparison that way, you’re using CO2 as a proxy for GDP, and nothing else. (Unless what you want to study is how effectively EPA carbon controls have been at sending us back to the stone age. ;-) )

    You should CO2 emissions per dollar GDP (“CO2 intensity”) if you want an “apples to apples” comparison. It’s of course not surprising that nations with the highest GDP per capita also have higher CO2 per capita.

  31. ferdberple says:

    Wombat says:
    July 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm
    … Still, there’s some way to go:http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Per-Capita-CO2-1024×696.png
    ==========
    The above graph shows “dirt poor” versus CO2. Correlates a lot better than temperature versus CO2.

  32. wikeroy says:

    This is not good news for the savannah in Africa.

  33. LearDog says:

    You can achieve those CO2 levels – all you have to do is crush an economy…..

  34. Manfred says:

    Even more amazing considering the massive population growth. In 1990 population was at 248.7 millions, now it is 312.8 millions, an increase of 64 million or 26% !

  35. GlynnMhor says:

    Lady Life suggests: “America continues to starve the world’s hungry.”

    Nonsense.

    The US provides more food to more non-US ‘world’ people than any other country.

  36. pedex says:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-W_jW6Edss-8/T-qptx6E71I/AAAAAAAAQYk/wUywYLsvy6Q/s1600/EIA%2BTotals%2B2012-06.png

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-A34ohxyAfrg/T-qqrzarAWI/AAAAAAAAQY8/oN18xYcP8hk/s1600/EIA%2BGasoline%2B2012-06.png

    are other economic indicators needed to be posted?

    we should be seeing the BEA calling another recession in the next few months, probably early 2013 backdated to late 2012 as they always call it after the fact

    although it really isn’t a new recession, just part of the ongoing depression and economic unwinding of the housing and credit bubble imploding

    the demand destruction and credit disappearing along with wealth of the middle class has been extraordinary, people w/o money don’t consume

  37. Rik Gheysens says:

    Russell Steele says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm
    My question, is how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy?

    Here are some figures to clarify the discussion.
    In 2008, 48.8% of the production of electricity was supplied by coal and peat. The total electricity production in that year was 4,369,099 GWh.
    In 2009, 45.2% of the production of electricity was supplied by coal and peat. The total electricity production in that year was 4,188,214 GWh.
    Conclusion:
    - The share of coal has reduced with 3.6%. The part of gas has increased with 1.8%, the part of nuclear energy with 0.6% and the part of hydropower also with 0.6%. The part of wind energy increased with 0.5%
    - Meanwhile, the electricity production has fallen with 4.1%.
    The dramatic decrease of coal in the energy production has two major causes: the failing economy but tied with it, the reducing part of coal in the energy production.
    Source: http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=US (consultations made in 2011 and recently).

  38. pedex says:

    Oh ya, while we are rejoicing over shale gas LOL, migth wanna take a look at the collapse of shale gas production which is coming shortly cause economically it is failing leaving lots of bankrupt companies in its wake. In order to sustain it natural gas prices have to climb back up to the $7 to $8 range. The oil production from shale isn’t turning out so well either. Production per well absolutely stinks versus conventional oil. This has been entirely predictable and explained ad nauseum on this site before.

  39. pat says:

    See. All the models were correct. CO2 has been reduced to 1990 levels and so has the temperature. Better yet, so has the economy. Pretty soon we can all live like a third world country. Or as America will soon call them, the First World.

  40. A. Scott says:

    Philip Bradley says:
    July 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Even if the methane had 100% of the global warming equivalency as the CO2 it reduces it is still a vast improvement.

    Its reckoned to have 25 times the GHW effect of CO2.

    That was exactly my point – the reason I used “equivalency” … even if the net GHG effect of the methane emitted was equal to the net GHG effect of the CO2 it replaced, it would STILL be a huge benefit, as residence time of methane is a decade or so in the atmosphere, while CO2′s is a century of more.

  41. David, UK says:

    Jeeeeez, the only way this would be good news is if Governments decided they didn’t need to exercise such draconian control after all and can leave things to the free (“ho-ho!”) markets. But of course we know they won’t. Like EPA-lover ‘Wombat’ (July 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm) and other alarmist zombies, they’ll continue to state that this is just the beginning, it doesn’t go far enough, there is still some way to go, it’s actually worse than we thought, etc, etc, and nothing will change. So pardon me if I don’t get excited.

    And to the zombies who believe this is good for the climate and that with the EPA regulations we’ll solve this “crisis” – do please tell us: just exactly what effect do you calculate any of this will have on world temperatures? And over what time span? Something like [b]0.0000001C over the next hundred years[/b], or something? Come on zombies, tell us. What, no figures? Thought so.

  42. David, UK says:

    Jeeeeez, the only way this would be good news is if Governments decided they didn’t need to exercise such draconian control after all and can leave things to the free (“ho-ho!”) markets. But of course we know they won’t. Like EPA-lover ‘Wombat’ (July 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm) and other alarmist zombies, they’ll continue to state that this is just the beginning, it doesn’t go far enough, there is still some way to go, it’s actually worse than we thought, etc, etc, and nothing will change. So pardon me if I don’t get excited.

    And to the zombies who believe this is good for the climate and that with the EPA regulations we’ll solve this “crisis” – do please tell us: just exactly what effect do you calculate any of this will have on world temperatures? And over what time span? Something like 0.0000001C over the next hundred years, or something? Come on zombies, tell us. What, no figures? Thought so.

  43. Due respect to Mr. Hanger, but his numbers don’t entirely add up. Total US energy consumption has fallen by 3% since 2005 (from 100.16 to 97.21 quads), with most of the decline occurring since 2008, coinciding not with any amazing technological revolution but rather with the recession. We know that the recession is driving the drop in consumption because the largest declines have been in fuels used principally for electrical generation and transportation. Yes, coal consumption has declined by 14.4% since 2005 – but nuclear generation has also declined by 7%. This represents lower demand, plain and simple.

    It’s also incorrect to attribute any of this decline to an increase in “renewables”. In 2005 the total renewable energy consumption portfolio amounted to 11.11 quads (of which 3/4 was hyrdo power); in 2011, it amounted to 12.9 quads. In other words, over the past 7 years, the renewable share of America’s energy consumption profile increased by 1.79 quads, while natural gas consumption increased by 2.3 quads (total 4 quads). This does not come close to “replacing” the amount by which the coal, petroleum and nuclear share decreased, i.e., 14.5 quads.

    America’s aggregate energy consumption has declined markedly since 2008. The only times in the past 50 years that this has happened (again, see eia.gov for statistics) were during the combined impact of 9/11 and the collapse of the dot-com bubble (1999-2001); during the early 1980s recession (1980-84); and in the wake of the oil shock (1973-75). None of these declines coincided with any revolution in technology. Massive, prolonged declines in energy consumption only ever occur as a direct result of economic catastrophe.

    Don’t get me wrong; natural gas is definitely the way to go. But its virtues have nothing to do with price or “carbon footprint” (for the record, there is no empirical evidence to support the AGW hypothesis; carbon dioxide emissions are irrelevant except as a bugbear for the political left). NGs single most important virtue is that America owns it, and owns a hell of a lot of it. The way out of the current crisis and decline (which, according to energy consumption statistics, is unquestionably the longest and deepest of the past half-century and more) is to reinvigorate America’s industrial profile at a profit. This means paying as little as possible for the raw materials used to create value – including energy. This in turn means exploiting America’s vast, untapped energy resources. It also means allowing niche, developmental energy technologies to succeed or fail according to the market instead of sustaining them via subsidies and ramming them down the throats of the populace via regulation.

    And for those who like to bleat that petroleum enjoys subsidies – the only “subsidy” that has ever mattered is consumer choice. Or to put it another way: how many electric cars are running in Washington, D.C. this week? And how many people are operating their a/c off of solar panels?

  44. crosspatch says:

    And yet it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever on global atmospheric CO2:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_trend_mlo.png

  45. A. Scott says:
    July 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

    A molecule of methane in the atmosphere is oxidized to one molecule of CO2 and two of H2O.

  46. Jimbo says:

    The first quarter 2012 reduction of 7.5% makes it possible that this year emissions will fall back essentially to the 1990 level of 5,039 million tons. That is shockingly good news.

    Why is that good news? The planet could do with some more co2 greening fertilization. Heck, greenhouse growers pump the stuff in so why don’t we.

  47. The recession helps reduce the transport emissions and power production emissions. Stay in recession and the US could achieve their goal in emissions reduction. Keep Obama in power and that will certainly happen. Continued recession I meant!!

  48. Surely the main reason for the drop is Americas rapid decline in industry over the last 20 years as it it exports its jobs and manufacturing to China amongst other places? In turn those other places will have shown a commensurate increase in emissions.

    Not sure its a case of rejoicing as the Western world exports its jobs then creates a huge deficit by importing the very goods it once made and exported.
    tonyb

  49. polistra says:

    It’s too bad Julian Simon didn’t live to see this perfect vindication of his basic idea.

  50. cedarhill says:

    This was acheived by Captialism.
    Not Obama’s Green Grass Grifters.
    Nor all the Blowin’ In The Wind’ers.
    Nor the Massive Bio-Mass’ers.
    Nor the Revolting Redistribtors.

    Now if we could only get Lady Life Grows @ July 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm to become active and help develop those thorium reactors we could drop into Africa rather than making purely political statements, we might actually see the third world with enough power to end their cycle of hoping for fresh water. Energy is life. Cheap energy is propserity.

  51. Bob says:

    Donald A. Neill’s analysis is better than the author’s. EIA’s real generation data (not projected) are through April. The April decrease was attributed to milder temperatures. If you recall, we had a warmer winter and the demand for electricity would be down. The “lower CO2″ because we are using more natural gas just doesn’t hold as a theory. The permit-to-operate large natural gas generation facilities is well over 2 years. These plants are in the PSD emissions rates for criteria pollutants and will be PSD for CO2. Application start to permit issue is 1.5 to 2 years if there is no public opposition. Then you can build the plant. So how many natural gas generation facilities cam on line and how many coal facilities went off line in the first 4 months of 2012?
    Gas may be the future preferred fuel for electric generation, but this magic drop is recession plus milder winters.

  52. harrywr2 says:

    Russell Steele says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    My question, is how much of the decline since 2008 is due to our failing economy?

    According to the US EIA 2011 Electricity consumption was about the same as 2006 electricity consumption.
    The most recent rolling 12 months put 2012 electricity consumption on par with 2006.
    Total US electricity consumption is off from the ‘peak year’ of 2007 by about 2.5%.
    It’s too early to tell how much impact out ‘BBQ Summer’ will have on the numbers, but fuel switching is definitely happening in a BIG way.

  53. Allan MacRae says:

    Here is what we predicted a decade ago, in 2002:

    Our eight-point Summary* includes a number of predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then wise enough to ignore it.

    With regard to the current decline in US energy consumption, please see points 4, 5, 6 and 8 below.

    Even though the USA did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, it subsequently adopted policies that were similarly foolish and destructive to its manufacturing sector.

    None of this CO2 reduction nonsense was scientifically justified – see point 1 below. There has been no net global warming in a decade or more.

    It appears that some of the USA’s CO2-reduction is due to coal-to-gas switching, and some is due to its declining economy.

    What is the solution to the economic woes of the USA? Use the cheapest energy costs on Earth to revitalize your manufacturing sector, and hope that cheap energy lasts.

    Put the entire green movement on IGNORE – they have contributed nothing to society for decades except to damage the economy and cause a huge misallocation of scarce global resources on foolish “green-energy” schemes that were grossly uneconomic and actually harmful to the environment. Furthermore, the enviros clearly-stated intentions are anti-human – see:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/02/us-co2-emissions-may-drop-to-1990-levels-this-year/#comment-1023313

    Summary*

    Full article at
    http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.

    1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.

    2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.

    3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.

    4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.

    5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.

    6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.

    7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

  54. Steve says:

    What? The manufacturing report came out yesterday. It’s bad news. Manufacturing has nearly ground to a halt, and the economy is in shambles. Isn’t THAT more of a reason of why we are “emitting less carbon?” No mention of this in the article?

  55. jrwakefield says:

    Notice the graph, the drop started in 2008, right after the market crash. I would think a large porton of this CO2 drop is indicative in the decline of the US economy, something the warmists must be very happy about.

  56. LazyTeenager says:

    Well considering many here were predicting that lower carbon dioxide emissions could only be accomplished by destroying civilization as we know it, it’s amusing to see many were so wrong.

    Maybe it’s time to consider you were wrong about a whole lot of other stuff as well.

    I’m not claiming its gonna be easy. There are some real headaches to be solved. But when I see a problem I don’t assume it can’t be solved. Neither do I ridicule others who are trying to solve a problem? even if I think their solution is crazy. There are worthwhile lessons to be learnt even from the failures.

  57. James Sexton says:

    Uhmm, as was probably noted already, the transition from coal to nat gas doesn’t nor can it account for that much reduction in CO2 emissions. Our economy is in the tank.

  58. more soylent green! says:

    Lady Life Grows says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm
    Is this supposed to be god ["good"] news?
    America continues to starve the world’s hungry.
    And all those endangered species are carbon-based life forms, too.

    But at least we’re using our shale.

    America feeds the world. But perhaps you’re talking about how much food, energy and land we waste growing crops for biofuels instead of for growing food? Even the UN says that our disastrous biofuels programs have raised the price of basic food staples worldwide and contributed to hunger.

    BTW: Please explain how we can feed more of the world’s hungry by using less shale. I don’t understand the correlation.

  59. Gary Pearse says:

    Oh bad timing! Now the AGW crowd will be chirping that CO2 reduction saved the planet just in time. Well, no. Don’t foreget that CO2 is hundreds of years in the atmosphere and it takes centuries before the present day effect takes place. Meanwhile, China and India are shovelling on more coal. US coal must be attractive to these countries. Imagine having to thank China and India for saving us from the new world order. They aren’t going to take any crap from the European UN of Socialist Republics.

  60. Tom in Indy says:

    The recession has been over for years!

    Employment, GDP and capacity utilization/industrial production have been increasing since Q3 2009.

  61. garcad says:

    Whereas the economy is being destroyed by mandate and whereas there is no free market in this country and whereas CO2 is not an issue of real significance – what, exactly, is the point of this article except to damage the credibility of the author?

  62. Smokey says:

    LazyTeenager says:

    “Well considering many here were predicting that lower carbon dioxide emissions could only be accomplished by destroying civilization as we know it, it’s amusing to see many were so wrong.”

    Let’s turn your argument around so it makes sense: since it has now been proven that government regulation is not necessary to lower [harmless, beneficial] CO2, then instead of hobbling economies by government interference, the government should get out of the nanny business, forget Cap&Tax, and let the free market provide the immense wealth that it normally does when the government isn’t meddling.

    Does that ‘amuse’ you? Or are you starting to grow up?

  63. kakatoa says:

    If you look at the carbon footprint of the country from a consumption point of view vs the productive capacity within the country, state, city, or individually the drop off in might not look quit as good. Many of the emissions formally ascribed to the state of CA and then to the USofA have migrated out of the state as noted here:

    http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/03/20/when-emissions-are-outsourced/

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308151041.htm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/14/outsourced-emissions

    The leakage problem is exasperating the economic recovery out here in sunny CA. On the bright side of things at least it’s been a bit cooler this year then a normal (AVG) summer, hence I haven’t needed too much energy from any source for HVAC. The late rains have even allowed me to reduce my irrigation events, which is kind of nice as it is getting a tad expensive to pump water up from my well to keep all my vegetation thriving.

  64. more soylent green! says:

    LazyTeenager says:
    July 3, 2012 at 5:27 am
    Well considering many here were predicting that lower carbon dioxide emissions could only be accomplished by destroying civilization as we know it, it’s amusing to see many were so wrong.

    Maybe it’s time to consider you were wrong about a whole lot of other stuff as well.

    I’m not claiming its gonna be easy. There are some real headaches to be solved. But when I see a problem I don’t assume it can’t be solved. Neither do I ridicule others who are trying to solve a problem? even if I think their solution is crazy. There are worthwhile lessons to be learnt even from the failures.

    You’re backasswards on this one. The emissions are going down without taking drastic measures that would [further] destroy our economy.

    This proves it can be done without taking the measures the alarmists claim are necessary.

    What is does not prove is CO2 emissions are a problem.

  65. Philip Peake says:

    @LazyTeenager so you haven’t noticed that civilization is on a downwards path towards a new dark age? If not, I suggest that you take a look around you and start to prepare.

  66. benfrommo says:

    Something to think about: The Broken Window Fallacy. By closing down coal plants early or otherwise retiring them earlier then we used to in the past, we have done this very thing. I am not knocking shale or NG at all, I think its a wonderful thing that the prices have gone down as they have, but check out the US energy bills and how they are increasing in a world of decreasing demand. Of course, wind power and other nonsense forms of energy have a little to do with this, but by far NG has to take up the slack of decreasing coal and nuclear power generation.

    The largest reason energy prices are going up is that we are building brand spanking new NG power plants to replace coal plants that could otherwise last a little longer, but due to regulations that “bankrupt companies that burn coal” the Government has picked the winners and losers again in a process that just makes it more expensive for the US’s poorest people. (and middle class of course.)

    Who profits? Well look at the obvious. Who builds NG plants: GE. Who is cozy with the president?

    So no matter what the energy policy does, we lose, and companies such as GE win. The big utility companies still make a profit because they must stay in business. In the end, its all a crapshoot where the consumer loses because the Government decides what the consumer must buy. This should sound familiar.

    And because coal is being shut down due to excessive regulations, we lose that as an option all in the end due to the nonsense science of global warming. It should make someone realize that those in Government are deciding what is good for us and what they decide often means profit goes to big green as in Obama’s case.

    Just follow the money everytime. Cronys and such have infested this Government and every policy decision is not based on science or anything else, but about picking the winner and losers so that the supporters of the Government get their rewards for their excessive campaign contributions. We are living in a gilded age today.

  67. Floyd Doughty says:

    To GlynnMhor (July 2 at 11:52 pm) and more soylent green (July 3, 2012 at 5:56 am):

    I do not know Lady Life Grows (July 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm), but I recognize subtle sarcasm when I read it. Lady Life is PRO-CO2 and understands that more CO2 released into the atmosphere is a good thing for this CO2-starved planet.

    But please understand that I also completely concur with both of your (serious) comments.

  68. If you all want to see the “elephant in the room”, make a chart showing China’s and India’s total CO2 emissions compared to the US’s over that same period of time.

    If “climate scientists” are stating that its GLOBAL Warming, then they need to focus on the worlds biggest emitters. Let’s see if China and India are concerned getting back down to THEIR 1990 levels.

  69. Gail Combs says:

    Lady Life Grows says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Is this supposed to be god news?
    America continues to starve the world’s hungry….
    ______________________________
    DO NOT BLAME the US citizens for what the World Bank/IMF is doing with their Structural Adjustment Policies The Bretton Woods Agreement, resulted in the establishment of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The principle Architects of the Agreement were Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Harry Dexter White later identified by the FBI as a Soviet spy whose code name was Jurist, and Fabian John Maynard Keynes lecturer at the London School of Economics started by the Webbs. (another two links, one and two )

    More recently you can point fingers at Goldman Sachs followed by Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Pimco, JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers as the cause of the 2008 food crisis, as well as the privately held international grain trader Cargill whose VP, Dan Amstuz, wrote the World Trade Agreement on Agriculture and the farm bill later called “Freedom to Fail” that bankrupted US farmers and wiped out the US grain reserves by 2008. The international grain traders even started a medal in tribute to Amstuz …this tribute is intended to provide an opportunity to express thoughts in a memorial to Dan’s contribution to our industry

    The following quotes show the international grain traders the level of concern for other humans.

    “In summary, we have record low grain inventories globally as we move into a new crop year. We have demand growing strongly. Which means that going forward even small crop failures are going to drive grain prices to record levels. As an investor, we continue to find these long term trends…very attractive.” Food shortfalls predicted: 2008 http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/dancy/2008/0104.html

    “Recently there have been increased calls for the development of a U.S. or international grain reserve to provide priority access to food supplies for Humanitarian needs. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) strongly advise against this concept..Stock reserves have a documented depressing effect on prices… and resulted in less aggressive market bidding for the grains.” July 22, 2008 letter to President Bush http://www.naega.org/images/pdf/grain_reserves_for_food_aid.pdf

    These are the same guys who wrote the World trade agreement on Ag and the US Food “Safety” Modernization Act.

    Try reading this three part series:
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11853
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11878
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11910
    Update: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/21703

  70. aaron says:

    This is an ominous sign for our economy.

  71. Jim says:

    @aaron: But according to O’bumble, the private sector is doing just fine.

  72. Dave Wendt says:

    Wombat says:
    July 2, 2012 at 10:36 pm
    Great News.

    … Still, there’s some way to go:

    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Per-Capita-CO2-1024×696.png

    For a little perspective on that graph consider this

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/06/americas-economic-success-vs-europe.html
    How About Europe Learning from Mississippi?

    “1.The European Union as a group ($32,700 GDP (PPP) per capita in 2010) ranks below America’s poorest state, Mississippi ($32,764).

    2. Even relatively wealthy (by European standards) Switzerland would rank #32 as a U.S. state, behind Georgia. The countries of Belgium and Germany would rank even lower at #46 and #47, and the U.K., Finland, and France would be close to the bottom of American states, below #48 South Carolina.

    3. Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal all rank below America’s poorest state (Mississippi) for GDP per capita. ”

    Peruse the full table at the bottom of the post to get a real feel for the relative magnitudes and note that it also includes Canada, which would be 41st as a U.S. state, and Japan, which would also slot in below SC. These data are from 2010 and despite our own fairly dismal results fresher data would likely make for a worse showing for the EU entities, although Canada may have moved up a bit.

    BTW, Canada’s placement is interesting considering the details in this story

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aN60ck4Sz4iE

    Australia Overtakes U.S. in Per Capita CO2 Emissions (Correct)
    By Jeremy van Loon and Alex Morales – September 10, 2009 04:26 EDT

    ” (Corrects Canadian emissions to 18.81 tons from 19.81 tons in second paragraph of story published yesterday.)

    Sept. 9 (Bloomberg) — Australia has overtaken the U.S. as the biggest emitter per person of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, according to a British risk analysis firm.

    The average Australian contributes 20.58 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year to cool homes, drive cars and generate electricity with coal, the U.K.-based risk assessment company Maplecroft said today. The U.S. fell to second at 19.78 tons per inhabitant a year while Canada was third at 18.81 tons.”

    I would also note that everyone who puts out these emissions data has widely varying numbers so I wouldn’t place much stock in any of them, except as relative values, and even those can be manipulated significantly.

  73. SteveSadlov says:

    I strongly suspect that if we’ve not already experienced peak anthropogenic environmental impact we shortly will. This may be counterintuitive given a projection of peak global population some time between now and 2050. However, one must look at how that population dynamic is distributed. The advanced nations have either already peaked or shortly will in terms of population. Furthermore, those advanced countries in embracing environmentally benign or minimally impactful technologies may find that their own impacts have led their population peaks and therefore have long passed. Bottom line is, those nations with the most significant impacts are zero to negative growth and the remaining nations have much lower impacts. Net net we are not likely to see increasing environmental impact world wide.

  74. Petrossa says:

    @Dave Wendt says:
    “1.The European Union as a group ($32,700 GDP (PPP) per capita in 2010) ranks below America’s poorest state, Mississippi ($32,764).

    And what was your nations debt again? Let’s put the debts into the calculation and see who is where on the scale.

  75. James Sexton says:

    LazyTeenager says:

    “Well considering many here were predicting that lower carbon dioxide emissions could only be accomplished by destroying civilization as we know it, it’s amusing to see many were so wrong.”
    ====================================================
    Your disconnect is astounding. Have you taken a look around? Our economy is crap, much of this is due to the policies pursued by the enviro nuts and socialists. The U.S. has doubled their foodstamp program in 4 short years. We’ve had people unemployed so long that they’re falling of the tracking, which helped lower the unemployment rate. What the hell? Is this the Green version of success? I’d say our economic doldrums are directly related to our increase of renewable energy production and our lack of ability to move this economy is reflected in the decrease of the use of cheap and reliable energy.

  76. Jay says:

    “Sioned Lang says:
    July 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm
    Great news…no more need to strangle coal or electric companies with taxes, CO2 storage, or anything else…..BTW with this lower emission rate, how many jobs were lost?”

    Oh -about 8 million !
    That’s the number the great recession has done upon us.

  77. MarkW says:

    climatereason says:
    July 3, 2012 at 2:11 am

    The US is not exporting manufacturing to other countries, what we are doing is getting more efficient at it which results in fewer manufacturing jobs.

  78. MarkW says:

    Tom in Indy says:
    July 3, 2012 at 6:14 am

    The recession has been over for years!
    Employment, GDP and capacity utilization/industrial production have been increasing since Q3 2009.

    If you think having the economy grow at an anemic 1.5% per year is a recovery, then I have a few million people who have given up looking for work who would like to talk with you.

  79. MarkW says:

    Petrossa says:
    July 3, 2012 at 10:04 am

    And what was your nations debt again? Let’s put the debts into the calculation and see who is where on the scale.
    ===
    Less than most European countries.

  80. Resourceguy says:

    So we need more stimulus with borrowed funds in order to get us back to a normal level of CO2 problem for policy spending agenda and UN wealth redistributing purposes? Got it.

  81. Brian H says:

    tokyoboy says:
    July 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    You are damaging the natural ecosystem by not increasing CO2 in the air!! / sarc

    Schadenfreude wars with grief over the slowing of the rate of improvement of the atmospheric CO2 resources.

  82. Billy Liar says:

    MarkW says:
    July 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

    The US is not exporting manufacturing to other countries, what we are doing is getting more efficient at it which results in fewer manufacturing jobs.

    So all those iPads and iPhones are made in the US? Perhaps in the 58th state?

  83. James Sexton says:

    Jay says:
    July 3, 2012 at 10:51 am

    “Sioned Lang says:
    July 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm
    Great news…no more need to strangle coal or electric companies with taxes, CO2 storage, or anything else…..BTW with this lower emission rate, how many jobs were lost?”

    Oh -about 8 million !
    That’s the number the great recession has done upon us.
    ======================================================
    Oh, I’d say more than that. Depends on one’s perspective, I suppose, but today, we have hit a milestone! (Or somewhere around today or last month or next.) The U.S. now has 100 million able bodied people not in the labor force or are unemployed.

    Oddly, it seems our increase use of renewables directly correlates with the numbers of people “not in the labor force”.
    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/good-news-u-s-co2-emissions-are-down-and-a-huge-milestone-passed/

    Such a proud day for the warmists! Their cause is accomplishing their goal.

  84. djaces says:

    Petrossa says:
    July 3, 2012 at 10:04 am
    @Dave Wendt says:
    “1.The European Union as a group ($32,700 GDP (PPP) per capita in 2010) ranks below America’s poorest state, Mississippi ($32,764).

    And what was your nations debt again? Let’s put the debts into the calculation and see who is where on the scale.

    Our debt is indeed troubling and during the reign of our current Dear Leader our Debt to GDP ratio has gone from a fairly middle of the road 71.5% to an EU basket case level of 104%. Since in that time we have added nearly $6 Trillion dollars to our debt while generating only $1.3 Trillion in GDP growth, it seems fairly obvious the the wealth redistribution and crony fascism economic model the Ogangster has embraced has been nothing but a very large drag on our productivity.

    I would also point out that the main reason that many of our EU and NATO allies have been able to keep their own debt ratios at levels lower than ours is that they have, for several decades now, sublet the majority of their national defense unto the backs of American taxpayers. If you doubt this, I would refer you to the recent history of the NATO operation in Libya. If you go to the archives you will find stories from barely more than a week after the operation began which indicated our stalwart allies, who conned our neophyte leader into joining the effort, were already running out of ordinance to continue to try to maintain the No-Fly Zone. The only thing worse than the constant European snark about U.S. militarism is the wheedling whining they generate when they have a problem which requires a military response and the U. S, is not ready to immediately willing to jump in to pull their collective chestnuts from the fire. Think Boznia, another effort where the U.S. had almost no national interest at stake, but we did have another Democrat President more concerned with his own reputation among the European elites than with those national interests.

  85. The drop probably has more to do with the economy. No jobs=people can’t afford to buy things or manufacture things or go anywhere=falling co2

  86. Richard G said @ July 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    More CO2 = More Sugar!

    Sugar: useless unless fermented!

  87. John Norris says:

    This has bothered me about the Scripps CO2 data. How come it is unaffected by global economic slow downs? It just keeps marching upward. There is no noise in the data and no variation for global economic cycles. Very counter to a data pattern that one would expect if it is the fault of human CO2 emissions. It looks like a bad fake.

  88. John Norris said @ July 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    This has bothered me about the Scripps CO2 data. How come it is unaffected by global economic slow downs? It just keeps marching upward. There is no noise in the data and no variation for global economic cycles. Very counter to a data pattern that one would expect if it is the fault of human CO2 emissions. It looks like a bad fake.

    Apart from a pronounced dip in the Vandal Minimum and the Little Ice Age, there’s no sign of the other Holocene climatic swings in the following chart:

    http://www.sturmsoft.com/climate/holocene_co2.gif

    All very puzzling.

  89. Allan MacRae says:

    John Norris says: July 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm
    This has bothered me about the Scripps CO2 data. How come it is unaffected by global economic slowdowns? It just keeps marching upward. There is no noise in the data and no variation for global economic cycles. Very counter to a data pattern that one would expect if it is the fault of human CO2 emissions. It looks like a bad fake.

    John, I don’t think it’s a fake, BUT you have a point:
    I analyzed atmospheric CO2 versus humanmade CO2 emissions a few years ago and could find NO detailed correlation, except that BOTH parameters were generally increasing.
    I also analyzed CO2 versus temperature and found that the rate of change dCO2/dt varied contemporaneously with global average temperature, and CO2 lagged temperature by ~9 months.

    In a decade or so, we will conclude that atmospheric CO2 is a result of global climate, not a driver thereof.

    There is a popular but fallacious argument (called the mass balance argument) that assumes that, everything else being constant (ha!), the magnitude of human CO2 emissions is sufficient that it must be the primary cause of increasing atmospheric CO2. BUT we also can see from the data that human CO2 emissions are generally absorbed by vegetation within a short distance of their source, and furthermore, we also observe from satellite data that global sources of CO2 are located in equatorial areas, NOT industrial areas, and finally, the entire CO2-water cycle is highly dynamic , not static, and increased atmospheric CO2 results in increased global biomass. Human emissions of CO2 are a tiny fraction of natural CO2 flux and are inconsequential within the variation of the natural system.

  90. pinetree3 says:

    Shale gas may cause a drop in co2 emissions, but according to this study it will be more than offset by a great increase in atmospheric methane released by fracking. If this study is correct, it looks like using shale gas will be far worse than using oil or coal.

    http://www.sustainablefuture.cornell.edu/news/attachments/Howarth-EtAl-2011.pdf

  91. Khwarizmi says:

    Dave Wendt says:
    Even relatively wealthy (by European standards) Switzerland would rank #32 as a U.S. state, behind Georgia.
    ====================
    NUMBER 6 —- Switzerland $ 76,700,000,000 (CREDIT)
    NUMBER 192 —-United States $ -599,900,000,000 (DEBT)

    Nevertheless, Mark W asserts, without foundation and contrary to the facts, that U.S. debt is “less that most European countries” Financial rank, per CIA:
    3 Germany $ 149,300,000,000
    6 Switzerland $ 76,700,000,000
    8 Netherlands $ 64,100,000,000
    9 Norway $ 63,500,000,000
    13 Sweden $ 41,600,000,000
    19 Denmark $ 22,100,000,000
    25 Austria $ 12,000,000,000
    27 Luxembourg $ 11,600,000,000
    36 Belgium $ 4,700,000,000

    The USA is at the bottom of the list:
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2187rank.html
    Self-deception: don’t leave home without it.

  92. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    From pinetree3 on July 3, 2012 at 7:00 pm:

    Shale gas may cause a drop in co2 emissions, but according to this study it will be more than offset by a great increase in atmospheric methane released by fracking. If this study is correct, it looks like using shale gas will be far worse than using oil or coal.

    Already debunked months ago. Google found me a nice energy blog with this entry:

    EnerGeoPolitics

    Fracking the key environmental/energy question of 2012?
    January 9, 2012

    While I was on my holiday hiatus, I came across this important piece from John Daly at Oilprice.com. Daly breaks down the state of play in the battle over natgas fracking (natural gas derived from hydraulic fracturing). Daly believes that this could be the key environmental battle of 2012 (I think it will remain the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline). In particular, Daly highlights a pair of dueling scientific papers out of Cornell University. On the one hand, a team of researchers led by Robert Howarth identify methane leakage from natgas fracking as a more potent global warming danger than even mining and burning coal; on the other hand, a separate set of Cornell researchers led by Lawrence Cathles attack Howarth’s methodology and claim that his numbers vastly overstate the problems. The numbers aren’t even close – Howarth, et al, claim that over a 20 year period, the total life cycle greenhous gas emissions from fracking would be at least 20% and perhaps 50% greater than coal; the other team argues that the real lifetime emissions of fracked natgas is at least half and perhaps as little as a third that of coal.

    Abstract of the Cathles commentary:

    Natural gas is widely considered to be an environmentally cleaner fuel than coal because it does not produce detrimental by-products such as sulfur, mercury, ash and particulates and because it provides twice the energy per unit of weight with half the carbon footprint during combustion. These points are not in dispute. However, in their recent publication in Climatic Change Letters, Howarth et al. (2011) report that their life-cycle evaluation of shale gas drilling suggests that shale gas has a larger GHG footprint than coal and that this larger footprint “undercuts the logic of its use as a bridging fuel over the coming decades”. We argue here that their analysis is seriously flawed in that they significantly overestimate the fugitive emissions associated with unconventional gas extraction, undervalue the contribution of “green technologies” to reducing those emissions to a level approaching that of conventional gas, base their comparison between gas and coal on heat rather than electricity generation (almost the sole use of coal), and assume a time interval over which to compute the relative climate impact of gas compared to coal that does not capture the contrast between the long residence time of CO₂ and the short residence time of methane in the atmosphere. High leakage rates, a short methane GWP, and comparison in terms of heat content are the inappropriate bases upon which Howarth et al. ground their claim that gas could be twice as bad as coal in its greenhouse impact. Using more reasonable leakage rates and bases of comparison, shale gas has a GHG footprint that is half and perhaps a third that of coal.

    Basically, the Howarth et al publication is just worst case scenarios, choosing worst case numbers, and anything else that generates an extremely alarming “possible” vision of certain calamity. Which just happens to get conveniently promoted as “what will happen” by the usual anti-fossil fuel climate propagandists.

  93. Caleb says:

    In the last year I used much less energy heating my home. I am not counting on next winter being so kind. In New England the winter of 1975-76 was kind, but 1976-77 was super cold.

  94. @kadaka (KD Knoebel)

    Thanks! I didn’t know about the other study.

  95. Alex the skeptic says:

    Shale gas/fracking is the extremist environmentalist worst enemy. The single carbon atom in CH4 means that more energy is available per carbon atom since here are four hydrogen atoms that react with oxygen to produce heat. Higher atomic weight hydrocarbons, which have higher carbon to hydrogen ratios, produce more CO2 per unit of energy. Thus, changing over to CH4 is the best option to reduce CO2 emissions (if one believes the theory that increasing CO2=global warming).

    CH4 is therefore bound to kill off wind turbines and pv’s besides providing cheap enery for the poor of the world and therefore the total global population will not fall to the extremists’ target of one billion people from a present one of 7 billion+.

    CO2 emissions is just the excuse for the implementation of a ‘greater good’: The culling of 6 billion human beings.

  96. Justus says:

    Really, I’ve been a personal believer for a long time that this debate is just going to settle down when our CO2 emissions have been capped. If that graph is correct, then this has already happened. The FREE MARKET will ultimately get us to renewables, but it will do it slowly and gradually like it SHOULD BE.

    People should be rewarded for using renewables and researching more efficient use of them so they take up less space and produce more stable power. This, combined with the free market slowly raising the prices of fossil fuel coal, oil, and natural gas, will be the ultimate blow to our fossil fuel consumption. We are not addicted to fossil fuels. We are addicted to EFFECTIVE energy production and consumption which, for now, is our fossil fuel stockpile.

    Even China will cap out in the next couple of decades both with more effective coal burning and fuel efficiency in vehicles.

    The fact that the alarmists panic about something that is almost at its peak of usage is unbelievable to me, and I think that with the US capping its CO2 emissions, it’s time for the alarmists to shut up and let the free market do its thing and stop getting its fingers in it. It has nothing to do with policies. It has to do with people adapting due to rising gas prices and such.

  97. Some of USA’s energy consumption decrease is mandate-driven. There is the Energy Independence & Security Act of 2007 mandating a somewhat wide variety of energy efficiency improvements, especially in consumption of electrical energy. Also, Obama shut-down construction of USA’s only long-term nuclear waste disposal facility, and there is a slight bit of gasoline conumption decrease due to “Cash For Clunkers”. And, EPA recently handed-out a regulation that effectively bans new construction of coal-fired electrical power plants.

  98. Oatley says:

    It’s the economy, stupid.

  99. Smokey says:

    Oatley,

    That is largely correct. But not completely. Manufacturing is constantly improving, becoming more efficient. And it is geometric. Part of the reduction is due to human ingenuity.

    And as Tony Brown says upthread, “Not sure its a case of rejoicing as the Western world exports its jobs then creates a huge deficit by importing the very goods it once made and exported.”

    As usual, China is ignored, proving that the enviro crowd is only interested in demonizing the US and the West. China always gets a free pass by the hypocrite contingent.

Comments are closed.