Report: Natural Gas Responsible for 61 Percent of U.S. Electricity Generation CO2 Reductions Since 2005

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released its annual report on energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States, confirming that the ongoing shift to using natural gas in place of higher-emitting forms of energy is the primary reason the United States leads the world in CO2 reductions since 2005.

The EIA report, U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Emissions, 2017, presents federal data on carbon emissions for the 2017 calendar year. Overall, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell by 47 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2017 (0.9 percent) as compared to the prior year. In the same time period, the U.S. economy grew by 2.3 percent.

Natural gas usage is credited for much of our country’s progress in reducing carbon emissions from energy. The report explicitly states that “growth in natural gas consumption contributed to the overall 2017 decline in carbon intensity and emissions,” thanks to natural gas being far less carbon intensive than other traditional fuels. In fact, fuel switching to natural gas for power generation has had an even greater impact on carbon dioxide emission reductions than non-carbon energy sources such as solar and wind energy every year since 2006. As the above EIA chart shows, natural gas can be credited for 61 percent  of the total 3.86 billion metric tons of electric generation CO2 reductions since 2005.

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