More natural gas power plants in U.S. reduced CO2 emissions by millions of metric tons, energy research program reports


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Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. increased in 2018, but the nation's increasing use of natural gas is actually assisting in the fight against climate change, an energy producer-backed research program recently announced.

U.S. natural gas is leading all energy resources in carbon emissions reductions, Energy In Depth, an Independent Petroleum Association of America research program, reported Nov. 19.

"The shift in the United States to building more natural gas power plants has led to the reduction of more than 2.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions since 2005, making it the largest source of energy-related carbon savings, recent data from the Energy Information Administration show," the EID report said.

The EID's report came a few days after the U.S Energy Information Administration's data release for U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide, or "CO2", emission for 2018.

"U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased in 2018," the EIA's report said. "Weather was one driver of this increase: the winter months were colder and the summer months were warmer than in 2017. In addition, U.S. transportation-related emissions continue to rise with gross domestic product (GDP), which has been a trend since 2012."

The EIA also said that natural gas in the U.S. is a standout in the overall emissions numbers.

“Between 2005 and 2018, EIA has calculated that cumulative U.S. CO2 emissions reductions attributable specifically to shifts from coal to natural gas and non-carbon generation totaled 4,621 MMmt," the EIA report said. "Of this total, 2,823 MMmt resulted from decreased use of coal and increased use of natural gas. 1,799 MMmt resulted from decreased use of coal and increased use of non-carbon generation sources."

EID's report referred to the EIA data and the expectation many had that renewable forms of energy would overtake natural gas as the largest source of emissions savings in 2018, though that has not transpired.

That expectation has been generated by the rise in non-carbon electricity generation in the U.S. by 35 percent since 2005.

"But EIA's new data show natural gas has widened the gap with renewables since 2017 in the reduction of carbon emissions in electricity generation, underscoring its ability to provide consumers reliable low-cost, clean energy, and its vital role in sustainability," EID's report said.

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