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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Lady Life Grows

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.

ExWarmist

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)

tokyoboy

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

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

G. Karst

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

Comme toujours!
Quel surprise!

DirkH

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

Richard G

More CO2 = More Sugar!

danj

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…

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?

gallopingcamel

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.

Oh no! I want more CO2.

Pamela Gray

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.

Crispin in Waterloo

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?

nc

What was the temperature in 1990?:)

A. Scott

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

Sundance

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.

Sioned Lang

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?

ExWarmist

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.

Jim

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.

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!

Khwarizmi

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

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

Jack Simmons

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

Allan MacRae

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

jdgalt

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!)

Earl

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.

wacojoe

CO2 = PLANT FOOD


Learn It

…Love It

…..Release It!

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.

Wombat

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.

Carrick

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.

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.

wikeroy

This is not good news for the savannah in Africa.

LearDog

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

Manfred

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% !

GlynnMhor

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.

pedex

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

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).

pedex

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.

pat

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.

A. Scott

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.

David, UK

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.

David, UK

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.

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?

crosspatch

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

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.

Jimbo

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.

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!!

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

polistra

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