Carbon emissions down thanks to… fracking

posted at 9:46 am on July 21, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

I guess the green warriors have finally won the battle. A new report shows that not only are carbon emissions not still rising, but they’ve already begun falling and are lower than they have been since Bill Clinton was in office.

The most underreported recent environmental story has been the dramatic decline in energy-related carbon emissions — nearly back to mid-1990s levels, and falling.

Maybe it’s because that story just doesn’t fit the left’s mantra that traditional energy sources are destroying the environment.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) June energy report says that energy-related carbon dioxide fell to 5,473 million metric tons (MMT) in 2011.

That’s down from a high of 6,020 MMT in 2007, and only a little above 1995′s level of 5,314 MMT.

So I guess all of those windmills and solar panels and cars that catch on mysteriously non-carbon emitting fire have gotten the job done. But wait… the timing on this looks kind of suspicious. Carbon levels kept rising under Clinton – and Bush. And when they started declining, Barack Obama was still in the Senate so he doesn’t get credit. What gives?

The most likely explanation for the decline is the shale gas revolution, made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Increasingly, power plants are turning to natural gas because it has become abundant, and therefore cheap. And though technology is improving our ability to reduce emissions from coal usage, natural gas is still a much cleaner source.

Indeed, natural gas has just passed an important milestone. As noted by John Hanger, energy expert and former secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection: “As of April, gas tied coal at 32% of the electric power generation market, nearly ending coal’s 100-year reign on top of electricity markets.”

So… all of that evil fracking and how it’s going to destroy the environment you were going on and on about? Is it any wonder that you haven’t heard a peep about this out of the current administration or the armies of climate change enthusiasts?

Doug Mataconis notes that another factor in reduced emissions just might be credited to the current administration. The economy still stinks.

The decline in total emissions, as well as emissions from coal and fossil fuels is rather obvious. Of course, it’s worth noting that at least some of this decline in emissions could be due to the impact of the economic downturn. In reality, it’s likely the economic crisis that has helped contribute to this process, though. With the economy in a period of tediously low growth, demand for energy is low meaning that energy producers began looking for ways to cut costs since increasing rates would have been problematic in such an environment. With oil prices remaining at relatively high rates and new EPA regulations making coal-fired plants more expensive to run, the switch to cheap, plentiful and cleaner-burning natural gas was really rather inevitable.

The fact is that the natural gas is not just one of the cleaner burning fuels, but the process of getting it out of the ground puts pretty much zilch into the atmosphere as well. Fabulists like Josh Fox aside, it doesn’t do a heck of a lot else besides produce heat and energy for us. But oddly, you apparently won’t see the current administration talking up this new “good news.” Because it’s only good news if it helps the political agenda, I guess.


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Well then it’s settled.
Natural Gas must be banned.

Badger40 on July 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Fracking great news.

Dongemaharu on July 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

More good news, LP is at 80 cents a gallon right now. I’m going to fill up next week which means the price will drop even further after that.

lowandslow on July 21, 2012 at 9:51 AM

The most likely explanation for the decline is the shale gas revolution, made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

however, will we make up the difference by the increase in the spontaneous liberal cranium explosions upon the hearing of this news???

ted c on July 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM

why are liberals so anti science?

ted c on July 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

But solar panels and windmills are cheaper,right?

docflash on July 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

why are liberals so anti science?

ted c on July 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM

They’re just afraid that somebody somewhere is making money.

RBMN on July 21, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Now the epa just can not have this, now can they? Not near enough regulations on fracking and new ones need to be thought up stat!

We can’t have the US energy independent, bho won’t like that one bit!
L

letget on July 21, 2012 at 9:58 AM

I still find it useless to talk about Carbon emissions.
Bcs it gives credence to the UNFOUNDED LIE that CO2 affects atmospheric temps when it does NOT.

Badger40 on July 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Peek oil and global warming are out, Peek water will be the rallying cry.

rob verdi on July 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Why wouldn’t carbon emissions be down? We have anti industrialist running the country.

Dr Evil on July 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

The hard-left environmentalists are anti-energy and anti-capitalist regardless of the energy source.

The Siera Club has been running their Beyond Coal program for years in partnership with the nat gas industry. Now that nat gas use is growing the Serra Club is rolling out their Beyond Gas program.

70% of US CO2 emissions come from the production of electricity yet the eco-Marxists fight tooth and nail against the expansion of nuclear power. Many people complain that nuclear is cost prohibitive but it’s only so due to environmentalist obstructionism at every step of the process.

The environmentalists are always blocking the development of energy but are NEVER challenged to offer up economically viable alternatives. Time for us to say, “ok, you want us to give up coal, then bring me your plan to replace it at a reasonable cost in a reasonable time. Otherwise go away.”

I don’t care how much wishing they do, solar and wind can never be major energy sources. Never!

We have to start fighting back against those that do more harm to average folks than every other group in the Leftist coalition. Energy is used by everyone every day either directly in their homes and cara or indirectly through their purchases of goods and services.

Charlemagne on July 21, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Maybe we could further reduce gaseous emissions by fracking the Obama administration.

Finbar on July 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

If proponents of CO2 caps were actually worried about CO2 instead of being watermelons, they’d love fracking. But they don’t. Decreased CO2 is only good if it is accompanied by economic depression. If it is caused by more efficient techniques and fuels, that is bad and those techniques must be stopped.

besser tot als rot on July 21, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Peek oil and global warming are out, Peek water will be the rallying cry.

rob verdi on July 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

See T Boone Pickens and Nancy Pelosi’s water deal.Water will be priced higher than gasoline.

docflash on July 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

I expect the worldwide media to provide detailed coverage of this development…oh wait!

workingclass artist on July 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

But what about algae?

newportmike on July 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

With oil prices remaining at relatively high rates and new EPA regulations making coal-fired plants more expensive to run, the switch to cheap, plentiful and cleaner-burning natural gas was really rather inevitable.

GASP! The next thing you’ll be telling me is that ‘the market place’ really works!

GarandFan on July 21, 2012 at 10:46 AM

But what about algae?

newportmike on July 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

He’s still president.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Everything that burns has carbon in it. If you burn something the same amount of carbon comes out the other end that went in the front end, just in a different configuration. The only way I know of to reduce carbon emissions is to stop burning stuff. The carbon is still there though it’s just not being burned and converted into some other compound. We don’t create carbon.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM

But, but, but, fracking is evil! It’s contaminated water tables with methane all over the eastern US. Methane is coming our of the spigots in places like Burning Springs, WV. And Burning Springs, KY. An near the Burning Springs, in NY.

(as it has for hundreds of years)

iurockhead on July 21, 2012 at 11:03 AM

lowandslow on July 21, 2012 at 9:51 AM

I have LP at my house, don’t run much on it, and the price to fill up was down considerably last time.

Cindy Munford on July 21, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Impossible!!!

It does not fit the narrative. The data is all wrong.

Remember how hot is was last week, the week before?

It is cuz of fracking or something.

Somebody call Secretary Chu…we need another executive order or new set of regulations or another dump of tax-payer money for new start-up green energy companies.

Romney keeps killing them off. Killed another one in Vegas just this past week, ya know.

Oh…and buy a Volt. Today. Now. I said “Now!” Get off the damn internet and buy one…Government Motors needs that cash. Well, the Auto Workers Unions demand the cash. Obama’s campaign coffers need the cash.

coldwarrior on July 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM

But what about algae?

newportmike on July 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

He’s still president.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

lol

threadwinner!

workingclass artist on July 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Plenty of natural gas reserves for the US.

Plenty of oil reserves for the US.

Plenty of coal reserves for the US.

A number of nice formations that we could mine for nuclear use.

Unfortunately we also have plenty of government and plenty of fear mongers that have cronies in place to try and turn out the lights in the US permanently. There are way too many who want government to have more power…and they are immune to education.

As Einstein quipped there are only two infinite things in the universe: space and stupidity. And he wasn’t too sure about space.

ajacksonian on July 21, 2012 at 11:54 AM

We demand to know why Al Gore, Bill McKibben and the leading lights of the so-called “rnviromental movement” are so anti-green? Andrew Cuomo too!

Come on you pond-scum: Why do you hate fracking? It’s reducing threats of global warming, after all!

MTF on July 21, 2012 at 1:29 PM

*ahem*

the science is settled.

/turnabout

ted c on July 21, 2012 at 1:51 PM

The problem is, there has been nothing to show that “carbon emissions” are a problem to begin with. The only thing that causes “carbon emissions” to be a problem are some computer models that made some flawed speculations about climate feedback from increased CO2 that are now being shown to be incorrect, and temperature “databases” where the “adjustments” applied to the actual temperature readings artificially inflate temperature readings in the database.

Peruse this site’s articles over the past month or two, maybe:

http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/

crosspatch on July 21, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Natural gas (methane), though there is somewhat less carbon loading of the atmosphere by its combustion, its use is not a solution to human-induced anthropogenic global warming.

Also, its recovery will inevitably put much of it into the air, and it is a much stronger greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.

So, I don’t know where the “feel good” is in all of this.

The most underreported recent environmental story has been the dramatic decline in energy-related carbon emissions — nearly back to mid-1990s levels, and falling.

Maybe it’s because that story just doesn’t fit the left’s mantra that traditional energy sources are destroying the environment

The two sentences really don’t have much to do with each other. Nevertheless, the science of human-induced climate change isn’t a matter of the “left” or the “right”, or any other political view; it’s a matter of science.

oakland on July 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

But what about algae?

newportmike on July 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

He’s still president.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

lol

threadwinner!

workingclass artist on July 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM

agreed…LOL!

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Not only have we not heard about this, but the science daily website is reporting the opposite in true commie fashion.

I hope they all die of heat prostration.

Wolfmoon on July 21, 2012 at 8:50 PM

But what about algae?

newportmike on July 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

He’s still president.

Oldnuke on July 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

lol

threadwinner!

workingclass artist on July 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM

agreed…LOL!

KOOLAID2 on July 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM

I disagree. The president is not algae, he’s scum. There’s a definite difference.

Wolfmoon on July 21, 2012 at 8:52 PM

, the science of human-induced climate change isn’t a matter of the “left” or the “right”, or any other political view; it’s a matter of science.

oakland on July 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

1. CO2 has never been shown to have caused a ride in atmospheric temperatures.
2. Rising atmospheric temperatures have been shown to cause a rise in CO2
3. Recall the heat the oceans hold & release, hold & release, & the fact that this takes a lot of time.
4. Remember there’s this thing called the Sun that’s been demonstrated to be the driver of climate change
5. There are too many variables in climate & weather to be able to discern why everything happens
6. NASA has not even factored the effect that clouds have on surface temperatures from satellites.

I could go on. And I have for you in the past.
You are quite possibly one of the worst students I’ve ever come across.

Badger40 on July 22, 2012 at 12:05 AM

And let us also not forget Milankovitch’s Theory regarding ice ages & eccentricities.
Tons of convincing evidence.

But you keep on thinking the opposite.
Bcs every day for liberals is Opposite Day.

Badger40 on July 22, 2012 at 12:06 AM

Natural Gas. As opposed to all the unnatural ones.

John the Libertarian on July 22, 2012 at 1:35 AM

the science of human-induced climate change isn’t a matter of the “left” or the “right”, or any other political view; it’s a matter of science.

oakland on July 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

It is a faith-based religion that has subverted science in order to justify its existence.

John the Libertarian on July 22, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Carbon emissions down largely due to the bad economy.

J.E. Dyer on July 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM

the science of human-induced climate change isn’t a matter of the “left” or the “right”, or any other political view; it’s a matter of science.

oakland on July 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

Uh huh. That’s why a politician of the left announced “the debate is over!” way back in 1992, when the debate had not even begun. And then *governments* (which are political entities, remember?) around the world began pouring billions of dollars into research so just long as the conclusions of that research increased their power over… everything.

And that’s why “scientists,” all of the left, were discovered in a dozen separate instances in the past 2 years to have been deliberately cherry-picking, manipulating, and misrepresenting the data about the climate in such a way as to buttress their political activism.

Because the science of climate change isn’t about politics, it’s about science. Right.

There does not exist a single, observable phenomenon that suggests that the human addition to atmospheric CO2 will have any harmful effect whatsoever. Any claim that we should alter our pattern of energy use in order to protect the climate is irrational and … unscientific.

philwynk on July 22, 2012 at 8:29 PM

“Carbon emissions down thanks to… fracking”

fracking what? Finish your sentences.

Kevin M on July 23, 2012 at 7:28 AM

If shale gas becomes so plentiful that its price becomes lower than the coal required to produce the same energy, market forces would lead power companies to build more gas-fired power plants and shut down coal-fired power plants. This would also result in lower CO2 emissions for the same energy, since burning natural gas produces about half as much CO2 as the same energy from coal.

Except that Lisa Jackson, Obama’s EPA Administrator, in her infinite wisdom, wrote a “rule” requiring all installations emitting more than 250,000 tons/year of CO2 to install “Best Available Control Technology to reduce CO2 emissions. Nobody really knows what that is, because no control technology is yet available on that scale.

So that companies who would ordinarily build power plants are sitting on the sidelines waiting for the rule to be changed, when the President is changed. A new President could do this alone, since Congress never mandated controls on CO2 emissions.

The methane (natural gas) which would produce 250,000 tons/year of CO2 has a heating value of about 113 Megawatts (MW), and if used efficiently could produce about 70 MW of power. Trouble is, most commercial gas-fired turbines produce at least 250 MW, so that Super Genius Jackson’s Rule is PREVENTING the building of gas-fired power plants, which could displace coal-fired plants and produce the same power with less pollution (including real pollution, such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter).

The free market could reduce pollution, if only Obama’s government got out of the way! Power to the people, including electric power!

Steve Z on July 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Too bad the Green Warriors weren’t out here in Colorado Springs reducing the carbon footprint from the 348 houses that burned up.

If they were really concerned, they’d be out here with the Forest Service thinning out the beetle-killed trees around the Vail/Dillon area. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Just wait. We’re one bolt of lightening or cigarette butt away.

NoPain on July 23, 2012 at 10:14 AM