NewEnergyNews: EFFICIENCY CLEANS THE AIR

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  • FRIDAY WORLD, January 14:
  • Global Leaders Name Climate Crisis World’s Biggest Risk
  • New Energy’s New Storage Options

    Thursday, May 09, 2013

    EFFICIENCY CLEANS THE AIR

    Was Efficiency Responsible for 75% of CO2 Reductions in 2012? Natural gas is touted as the driving force behind America’s declining emissions. But a new study concludes that efficiency is the primary reason.

    Stephen Lacey, May 1, 2013 (Greentech Media)

    “Ever since it was reported last year that U.S. CO2 emissions had dropped to a twenty-year low, energy analysts and bloggers have engaged in a friendly academic tussle over the cause…The conventional wisdom…is that natural gas played the dominant role by pushing coal out of the market…But the folks at CO2 Scorecard have come to a different conclusion: the historic 2012 drop in emissions was driven more by economy-wide efficiency than an increase in natural gas generation…

    “Now that the full numbers for 2012 are out, analysts have a better window into what's driving America's changing emissions profile. Once again, the folks at CO2 Scorecard found that natural gas accounted for only one quarter of last year's reductions…They found that in five of the eight [NERC] regions, the decline in coal generation was greater than the increase in natural gas generation…On a nationwide level, more than 50 million megawatt-hours of coal simply dropped off the map without any assistance from natural gas -- a result of the decline in electricity consumption…”

    “…[I]n some areas, natural gas actually displaced more hydro and nuclear than coal, thus adding to emissions…CO2 Scorecard determined that increases in natural gas generation were responsible for 26 percent of the total decline in CO2 emissions in 2012…[T]he drop in coal consumption due to a decrease in electricity demand and the retirement of old plants played a slightly bigger role at 27 percent…The rest of the reductions came from a decline in driving, an increase in fuel-efficient cars and a decrease in residential and commercial energy consumption…

    “…100 million metric tons were saved due to a drop in demand for energy due to efficiency measures…[E]ven if the study understates the role of gas in dropping emissions, the economy-wide impact of efficiency -- particularly when it cuts coal out of the picture -- is still substantial. The only way to continue steady reductions, say the researchers, is to put in place a long-term policy solution that encourages energy reductions, not just pushing a bonanza of natural gas production…”

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