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Fracking Slashes US CO2 to Lowest Level Since 1993

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A new report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) found hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has pushed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation to the lowest levels since 1993.

Fracking created immense amounts of natural gas, lowering the price and causing the amount of electricity generated from natural gas to pass the amount of electricity generated from coal for seven of the months in 2015, according to the new EIA report. The report specifies that natural gas power plants produce about 40 percent of the CO2 emitted from a coal plant creating the same amount of electricity. This caused U.S. CO2 from the electricity sector to fall by 21 percent since their high in 2005.

“[T]he drop in natural gas prices, coupled with highly efficient natural gas-fired combined-cycle technology, made natural gas an attractive choice to serve base load demand previously met by coal-fired generation,” read the report. “Coal-fired generation has decreased because of both the economics driven by cost per kilowatt/hour compared to that of natural gas and because of the effects of increased regulation on air emissions.”

CO2-Cuts

America’s total CO2 emissions have fallen 12 percent since 2005 due to increased natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to a report published earlier this week by The EIA. The report attributes falling CO2 emissions to “decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.”

The EIA report estimates that roughly 68 percent of the falling CO2 emissions are due to the switch from coal to natural gas, and does not mention wind or solar power. Fracking, not government green policies, has caused CO2 emissions to drop sharply in 47 states and Washington, D.C., according to both Scientific American and other studies by the EIA.

Solar power is responsible for a mere 1 percent of declining American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute. For every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.


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