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The decrease in coal-derived energy in favor of natural gas-derived energy has the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasting that the CO2 emissions in the United States will fall in 2019, according to a new report by the agency on Monday.
In the year prior, energy-related CO2 emissions in the United States had increased by 2.7%.
Typically, the first quarter of the year is the highest, and sets the trend for energy-related CO2 emissions for the rest of the year, the EIA explained in its latest report. But in just a handful of years—six out of thirty—the remaining nine months of the year bucked the trend set in the first quarter.
The EIA is forecasting that 2019 is one of those rare years. So while the first quarter 2019 CO2 emissions mimic 2018 first-quarter emissions, the EIA is expecting that the overall 2019 emissions will actually be lower than in 2018.
The EIA is basing this optimism for lower CO2 emissions on the mild temperature forecasts for the remainder of the year, which it expects will keep energy demand below that of 2018.
“EIA forecasts that CO2 emissions from coal will decrease by 169 MMmt in 2019, the largest decrease in CO2 emissions from coal since 2015,” the EIA said.
Picking up some of that slack is an expected increase in natural gas C02 emissions of 53 MMmt as the mix of coal shrinks and natural gas grows in the overall energy mix. C02 emissions from petroleum is expected to be flat in 2019.
“Because the electric power sector consumes nearly 92% of the coal used in the United States, expectations for both overall lower electricity demand and a lower share of coal-fired electricity this summer lead EIA to forecast lower coal CO2 emissions.”
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.