"Market forces," namely the substitution of low-priced natural gas for coal at power plants, has brought carbon emissions in the U.S. to a 20-year low, the Associated Press reported today.
As reported by the Associated Press:
In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. CO2 emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.
The United States has cut carbon dioxide emissions more than any other country in the past six years, AP reports.
Not surprisingly, the coal industry doesn't believe the natural gas boom will continue to displace coal as a power-generation source.
Jason Hayes, a spokesman for the American Coal Council, based in Washington, predicted cheap gas won't last.
According to the AP story:
"Coal is going to be here for a long time. Our export markets are growing. Demand is going up around the world. Even if we decide not to use it, everybody else wants it," he said. Hayes also said the industry expects new coal-fired power plants will be built as pollution-control technology advances: "The industry will meet the challenge" of the EPA regulations.