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LWW
08-18-2012, 04:47 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

Thu, 08/16/2012 - 2:57pm by KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.

"There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources," said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.

While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.

<span style='font-size: 14pt'>A frenzy of shale gas drilling in the Northeast's Marcellus Shale and in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has caused the wholesale price of natural gas to plummet from $7 or $8 per unit to about $3 over the past four years, making it cheaper to burn than coal for a given amount of energy produced. As a result, utilities are relying more than ever on gas-fired generating plants.</span>

Both government and industry experts said the biggest surprise is how quickly the electric industry turned away from coal. In 2005, coal was used to produce about half of all the electricity generated in the U.S. The Energy Information Agency said that fell to 34 percent in March, the lowest level since it began keeping records nearly 40 years ago.

The question is whether the shift is just one bright spot in a big, gloomy picture, or a potentially larger trend.

Coal and energy use are still growing rapidly in other countries, particularly China, and CO2 levels globally are rising, not falling. Moreover, changes in the marketplace - a boom in the economy, a fall in coal prices, a rise in natural gas - could stall or even reverse the shift. For example, U.S. emissions fell in 2008 and 2009, then rose in 2010 before falling again last year.

Also, while natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it still emits some CO2. And drilling has its own environmental consequences, which are not yet fully understood.

"Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the CO2 problem," Pielke warned.

The International Energy Agency said the U.S. has cut carbon dioxide emissions more than any other country over the last six years. Total U.S. carbon emissions from energy consumption peaked at about 6 billion metric tons in 2007. Projections for this year are around 5.2 billion, and the 1990 figure was about 5 billion.

China's emissions were estimated to be about 9 billion tons in 2011, accounting for about 29 percent of the global total. The U.S. accounted for approximately 16 percent.

Mann called it "ironic" that the shift from coal to gas has helped bring the U.S. closer to meeting some of the greenhouse gas targets in the 1997 Kyoto treaty on global warming, which the United States never ratified. On the other hand, leaks of methane from natural gas wells could be pushing the U.S. over the Kyoto target for that gas.

Even with such questions, public health experts welcome the shift, since it is reducing air pollution.

"The trend is good. We like it. We are pleased that we're shifting away from one of the dirtiest sources to one that's much cleaner," said Janice Nolen, an American Lung Association spokeswoman. "It's been a real surprise to see this kind of shift. We certainly didn't predict it."

Power plants that burn coal produce more than 90 times as much sulfur dioxide, five times as much nitrogen oxide and twice as much carbon dioxide as those that run on natural gas, according to the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Sulfur dioxide causes acid rain and nitrogen oxides lead to smog.

Bentek, an energy consulting firm in Colorado, said that sulfur dioxide emissions at larger power plants in 28 Eastern, Midwestern and Southern states fell 34 percent during the past two years, and nitrous oxide fell 16 percent. Natural gas has helped the power industry meet federal air pollution standards earlier than anticipated, Bentek said.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency issued its first rules to limit CO2 emissions from power plants, but the standards don't take effect until 2014 and 2015. Experts had predicted that the rules might reduce emissions over the long term, but they didn't expect so many utilities to shift to gas so early. And they think price was the reason.

"A lot of our units are running much more gas than they ever have in the past," said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for Ohio-based American Electric Power Co. "It really is a reflection of what's happened with shale gas."

"In the near term, all that you're going to build is a natural gas plant," she said. Still, she warned: "Natural gas has been very volatile historically. Whether shale gas has really changed that - the jury is still out. I don't think we know yet."

Jason Hayes, a spokesman for the American Coal Council, based in Washington, predicted cheap gas won't last.

"Coal is going to be here for a long time. Our export markets are growing. Demand is going up around the world. Even if we decide not to use it, everybody else wants it," he said. Hayes also said the industry expects new coal-fired power plants will be built as pollution-control technology advances: "The industry will meet the challenge" of the EPA regulations.

The boom in gas production has come about largely because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Large volumes of water, plus sand and chemicals, are injected to break shale rock apart and free the gas.

Environmentalists say that the fluids can pollute underground drinking water supplies and that methane leaks from drilling cause serious air pollution and also contribute to global warming. The industry and many government officials say the practice is safe when done properly. But there have been cases in which faulty wells did pollute water, and there is little reliable data about the scale of methane leakage.

"The Sierra Club has serious doubts about the net benefits of natural gas," said Deborah Nardone, director of the group's Beyond Natural Gas campaign.

"Without sufficient oversight and protections, we have no way of knowing how much dangerous pollution is being released into Americans' air and water by the gas industry. For those reason, our ultimate goal is to replace coal with clean energy and energy efficiency and as little natural gas as possible."

Wind supplied less than 3 percent of the nation's electricity in 2011 according to EIA data, and solar power was far less. Estimates for this year suggest that coal will account for about 37 percent of the nation's electricity, natural gas 30 percent, and nuclear about 19 percent.

Some worry that cheap gas could hurt renewable energy efforts.

"Installation of new renewable energy facilities has now all but dried up, unable to compete on a grid now flooded with a low-cost, high-energy fuel," two experts from Colorado's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute said in an essay posted this week on Environment360, a Yale University website.

How much further the shift from coal to natural gas can go is unclear. Bentek says that power companies plan to retire 175 coal-fired plants over the next five years. That could bring coal's CO2 emissions down to 1980 levels. However, the EIA predicts prices of natural gas will start to rise a bit next year, and then more about eight years from now.

Despite unanswered questions about the environmental effects of drilling, the gas boom "is actually one of a number of reasons for cautious optimism," Mann said. "There's a lot of doom and gloom out there. It is important to point out that there is still time" to address global warning.</div></div>

And there we have it ... the solution to the imaginary problem of CO2 is free market forces on energy markets, made possible by the nergy policies of the Bush regime ... and opposed by the Obama regime and the Goremon cult.

Qtec
08-18-2012, 05:16 AM
If its an imaginary problem, how can there be a solution?

Have you read the actual report? Of course not.

link (http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/)

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2011

Release Date: August 14, 2012 | Next Release Date: August 2013
Previous Issues:
Year:

After an increase in 2010 of 3.3 percent, energy-related <span style='font-size: 14pt'>carbon dioxide emissions declined in 2011 by 2.4 percent</span> and were 526 million metric tons (9 percent) below the 2005 level. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined in the United States in four out of the last six years.
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use fell in 2011

After two years of declining carbon dioxide emissions (2008 and 2009) and one year of increasing emissions (2010), carbon dioxide emissions in 2011 fell, but at a less dramatic rate than in 2009. Unlike 2009, the 2011 decline occurred during a year of positive growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).1


<span style='font-size: 14pt'>Part of the 2011 emissions decrease is due to slower economic growth</span>

In 2011, GDP grew by 1.8 percent, but emissions decreased by 2.4 percent (136 million metric tons). This indicates that the carbon intensity of the economy declined by about 4.2 percent.2 The 2011 decrease is only the fourth year since 1990 to experience a decline in carbon intensity of greater than 3.5 percent for the economy as a whole and only the sixth year since 1990 to experience an emissions decline. Since 1990, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have grown much more slowly than GDP in 2007 emissions were 19 percent greater than their 1990 level, but by 2011 were only about 9 percent above the 1990 level. GDP has increased by 66 percent over that same time period. </div></div>

If you read the whole thing there are many factors to the reduction in CO@ emissions.

That total crap you posted does not even mention how much the decrease was. It was probably written by a fracking lobbyist.

Q

LWW
08-18-2012, 05:34 AM
It's a shame you commented without reading it ascall your questions were answered.

BTW ... the report came from the Obama regime.

Soflasnapper
08-18-2012, 12:01 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">
"Natural gas is not a long-term solution to the CO2 problem," Pielke warned.
</div></div>

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">And there we have it ... the solution to the imaginary problem of CO2 is free market forces on energy markets, made possible by the nergy policies of the Bush regime </div></div>

These two things are not alike. What are the differences? Hmmm, confusing. Whom to believe???

Well, one thing is sure. The industry sycophants and hacks who said the US could NEVER see such a reduction in CO2 (as we've just been seeing), that it would have to DESTROY the economy in a quixotic bid to do the impossible, were entirely wrong.

That must have been a one-time mistake only, as I'm sure we can be entirely confident in whatever else they tell us. Because, why would they lie?

eg8r
08-20-2012, 08:13 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">That must have been a one-time mistake only, as I'm sure we can be entirely confident in whatever else they tell us. Because, why would they lie?</div></div>What was their reasoning for why it could never happen without destroying economy?

eg8r

Soflasnapper
08-20-2012, 01:13 PM
It was a simple syllogism.

Economic growth MUST cause greater fuel consumption, and greater fuel consumption MUST cause greater CO2 emissions. (assumptions)

(argument) Therefore, if CO2 emissions come down, are rolled back, then we must be using less fuel, and then we must have negative economic growth (contraction). QED.

Simple, neat, persuasive-- wrong.

eg8r
08-20-2012, 02:00 PM
Well we certainly are not in a period of economic growth are we? Aren't there some variables here that are being considered as "static" which reality is proving to not be the case? Since you don't come out and say it, my guess is that this economic growth causing greater fuel consumption is implying more of the same fuel consumption and NOT the switch to cleaner energy sources. Taken from the article...

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.

A frenzy of shale gas drilling in the Northeast's Marcellus Shale and in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana has caused the wholesale price of natural gas to plummet from $7 or $8 per unit to about $3 over the past four years, making it cheaper to burn than coal for a given amount of energy produced. As a result, utilities are relying more than ever on gas-fired generating plants.
</div></div>Lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are some of the items called. They certainly aren't saying what you were saying which is expanding economy and using non-renewable energy (which at the time was more expensive and no one predicted the price would drop as drastically as it did). Basically you have no idea if what they were saying before would have been true or not because reality has decided to take a turn from the status quo of using coal as a primary and instead switching to natural gas.

eg8r

LWW
08-20-2012, 02:41 PM
And in the ultimate irony, the left has opposed the primary cause of the drop.

Soflasnapper
08-20-2012, 04:13 PM
Well we certainly are not in a period of economic growth are we?

Yes, we are in a period of economic growth. "Real" growth (above inflation) of around 2% per annum.

Lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are some of the items called


Yes, there are many reasons. Those former forecasters did not anticipate a breakthrough that would drop the price of natural gas so much, or the switch from that price drop from coal to gas, that is correct.

However, the entire country has been slowly turning to far better efficiency in appliances, heating and cooling systems, and etc. FPL in these parts pays you rebates to upgrade to more efficient air conditioning and to put in various energy saving products, as in greater insulation, heat-protective window film, and etc. My understanding is that they are middle-manning federal energy program subsidies, to save the effort and paperwork for the consumer.

In my case, I've gotten my electric bill cut in half by such measures, at some cost to me but as an economic benefit to the gdp by getting the contractors and the a/c guys some work, and I'll be entirely paid back on my expenditures by these savings in about 2 years (an excellent return on that investment, btw).

People are driving less, and at better mpg figures, and that will be improving in the future with the new fleet standards increase.

eg8r
08-20-2012, 06:26 PM
Needless to say, these numbers have not been dropping at any appreciable rate when you add in all the more efficient energy star appliances, better AC systems, less driving, better MPG, etc. What helped the drastic drop is the switch to natural gas. Instead of waiting for 1000's of people to make the change slowly we see a drastic change when it is done in mass by the energy companies which is where it should have started from the beginning. Hopefully nothing changes and the price continues to drop and we see more companies switching to this type of energy.

eg8r

LWW
08-20-2012, 06:55 PM
Do you happen to know how GDP is calculated and the mythology required to come up with te number you cite?

Soflasnapper
08-21-2012, 11:25 AM
"Same as it ever was." -- Talking Heads

(since the changes in the '80s)