US Carbon Dioxide Emissions Down in Q1 2012

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reported that U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions from energy use were significantly down in the first quarter of 2012.  Emissions fell to 1992 levels when compared against other first quarters when energy demand for fossil fuel heat is high.

CO2 emissions during the first quarter of 2012, according to the US EIA, were low due to a combination of three factors:

  • A mild winter that reduced household heating demand and therefore energy use
  • A decline in coal-fired electricity generation, due largely to historically low natural gas prices
  • Reduced gasoline demand

Reacting to the decline in price of natural gas, utilities have been using less coal for electricity generation.  “About 90% of the energy-related CO2 emissions from coal,” according to the agency, “came from the electric power sector.”

Source:  US Energy Information Agency, August 1, 2012.  Washington Times, August 16, 2012.