UPDATE (5/13/2016, 5:00 pm)
Additional data released by the EIA today shows that carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in 2015 were lowest since 1993. Similar to other reports, this data indicates that,
“A shift on the electricity generation mix, with generation from natural gas and renewables displacing coal-fired power, drove the reductions in emissions.”
It is thanks to a boom in domestic production, and the fracking that made it possible, that so much natural gas is available at a reasonable price for this electricity generation.
— Original Post May 10, 2016 —
Increased natural gas production from fracking is driving a dramatic drop in American carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since 2005, according to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EIA found that CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 percent since 2005 and estimates that 68 percent of that drop can be attributed to increased natural gas usage. The report attributes CO2 emissions reductions due to an “increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.” From the report:
“The reductions in CO2 emissions are spread out among the different end-use sectors in proportion to the share of total electricity sales to each sector. Overall, the fuel-use changes in the power sector have accounted for 68% of the total energy-related CO2 reductions from 2005 to 2015.” (Emphasis added)
The relationship between decreasing CO2 emissions and fracking has already been noted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. Even anti-fracking groups like the Sierra Club have admitted that natural gas plays a key role in decreasing U.S. emissions, as it noted last year:
“We project that as a result of recent coal retirements, as well as advocacy for related policy measures like efficiency and demand response and market forces including historically low natural gas prices, electric sector coal use in 2015 will be approximately 9 percent lower than in 2014.” (Emphasis added)
The EIA’s latest report is simply the most recent testament to the climate benefits of fracked natural gas.