GHG Daily Monitor Vol. 1 No. 188
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October 13, 2016

EIA: Energy Related CO2 Emission Low in First Half of 2016

By ExchangeMonitor

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the first half of 2016 were the lowest in 25 years, the Energy Information Administration announced Wednesday. “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions totaled 2,530 million metric tons in the first six months of 2016. This was the lowest emissions level for the first six months of the year since 1991, as mild weather and changes in the fuels used to generate electricity contributed to the decline in energy-related emissions,” according to an EIA release.

The EIA attributed to low emissions to multiple factors. First, thus far, 2016 has been warm, reducing the need for heating, which drives up CO2 emissions. “In the first six months of 2016, the United States had the fewest heating degree days (an indicator of heating demand) since at least 1949, the earliest year for which EIA has monthly data for all 50 states,” the release says.

Second, the energy generation mix is changing. Coal is falling out of favor as the low cost of cleaner-burning natural gas makes it more appealing. The release says national coal use fell 18 percent year over year in the first half of 2016, while natural gas use fell only 1 percent. The use of zero-carbon renewables is also on the rise, increasing 9 percent during the first six months of the year over to the same period of 2015, according to the release.

The EIA is forecasting 5,179 million metric tons of energy-related U.S. CO2 emissions this year, which would be the lowest yearly amount since 1992.

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