Report: Carbon emissions are at a twenty-year low, due to…

posted at 7:37 pm on August 16, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Oh, the glorious irony! While environmentalists everywhere have long insisted that we need major government interference in order to combat the greedy capitalism ostensibly fueling the effects of man-made climate change, and that hydraulic fracturing is one of the most environmentally unfriendly, earth-raping practices in the history of ever, it’s officially official: It is in fact free enterprise and fracking together that have accomplished what greenies have been lecturing us to do for decades.  From the Associated Press:

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for “cautious optimism” about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that “ultimately people follow their wallets” on global warming.

“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

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. … While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.

And it feels so good. Just look at that — the free market did something ‘green’ and good all on its own, no “necessarily skyrocketing” energy prices necessary! As I often argue, too many environmentalists operate under the mistaken impression that prosperity and environmental quality are mutually exclusive, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong. Not only are wealthy societies the only ones that have the luxury of worrying about their environmental impact, but a robust and thriving economy is the only thing that’s ever going to bring about the efficiency and innovation that will lead to cleaner and better energy and resource usage.

Not to mention, natural gas is providing and can continue to provide a huge boost for economy, our global competitiveness, and our energy security. As John Deutch wrote for the WSJ the other day, the opportunities just keep on comin’:

Two summers ago, natural gas cost $4.50 per thousand cubic feet, which was less than half what it had cost two summers earlier. Today the price is under $2.50, as unconventional natural gas production has increased to 20% of domestic supply from 5% in 2008, with 40% anticipated by 2020….

A United States hopelessly dependent on imported oil and natural gas is a thing of the past. Most energy experts now project that North America will have the capacity to be a net exporter of oil and natural gas by the end of this decade. …

The historic ratio between the cost of natural gas and oil on an energy-equivalent basis—one to six—means that there is a tremendous economic incentive to develop new natural gas technologies for purposes including compressed natural gas vehicles, gas-to-liquid conversion, and methanol that could be used as a transportation fuel or blended into synthetic diesel fuel.

Update (Ed), 8/17: We forgot to add the link back to the story from which the first excerpt came.  It was written by Kevin Begos at the Associated Press.  We certainly apologize for the oversight.


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Natural Gas? Just a guess.

Bmore on August 16, 2012 at 7:40 PM

What’s the link/source for the first quote?

MadisonConservative on August 16, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Fracking A man!

Bmore on August 16, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Report: Carbon emissions are at a twenty-year low, due to…

But, still droughts are due to increasing “global warming”.

Got it.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Frack U, Frack ME!

BAM!

Scoreboard44 on August 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

APGW is a religion.

John the Libertarian on August 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Don’t you think the EPA’s war on coal has any impact on the switch to natgas?

Charlemagne on August 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

“We’re starving”. – your plants

tmitsss on August 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

Oh, the glorious irony! While environmentalists everywhere have long insisted that we need major government interference in order to combat the greedy capitalism ostensibly fueling the effects of man-made climate change, and that hydraulic fracturing is one of the most environmentally unfriendly, earth-raping practices in the history of ever, it’s officially official: It is in fact free enterprise and fracking together that have accomplished what greenies have been lecturing us to do for decades.

Nicely written.

As I often argue, too many environmentalists operate under the mistaken impression that prosperity and environmental quality are mutually exclusive, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong.

I don’t think so. Most “environmentalists” don’t really care about the environment. They care about controlling the economy through the government, which in turn lets them control you. To environmentalists the issue is not pollution, the issue is power.

jaime on August 16, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Frack U, Frack ME!

BAM!

Scoreboard44 on August 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Frack everybody, but that takes time. But we’re working on it.

Bmore on August 16, 2012 at 7:51 PM

The reason the ‘greenies’ don’t like to let the free market dictate these changes is because then THEY can’t dictate to the rest of us.

How’s a little fascist supposed to get a thrill down their leg?

thatsafactjack on August 16, 2012 at 7:53 PM

If this stands in the way of the “One World Government” agenda, then some scientist somewhere will figure out a way to “prove” it’s not as clean as we think it is, or they’ll “regulate it to death”.

Abolish the EPA !

listens2glenn on August 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

The key phrase for leftists is “make a cleaner energy source cheaper” which means for them the government should make solar and wind “cheaper” buy heavily subsidizing it.

Wigglesworth on August 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Replace ‘buy’ with ‘by’

Wigglesworth on August 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

That’s frickin’ frack-tastic!!!!!

RealMc on August 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Don’t you think the EPA’s war on coal has any impact on the switch to natgas?

Charlemagne
on August 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

.
Nope. Economics is driving this, pure and simple.

listens2glenn on August 16, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University,

Isn’t he the guy that originally sodomized Sandusky?

BL@KBIRD on August 16, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University,

Oh yeah,…him! Mr. Double Hockey Sticks whose research was given a clean bill of health by Graham Spanier. Yes,..that Graham Spanier.

a capella on August 16, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Maybe this is the reason for the Midwest drought!!!!

Not enough CO2!

profitsbeard on August 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

So when does the temperature drop to be at a 20 year low./s

Somewhere they are writing a report to say that the CO2 low or some other reason is why there are droughts. The lack of coal sot is creating less clouds that create rain.

tjexcite on August 16, 2012 at 8:06 PM

As I often argue, too many environmentalists operate under the mistaken impression that prosperity and environmental quality are mutually exclusive, but that assumption couldn’t be more wrong.

Truth be known, Erika, the religion of environmentalism cares not about the environment, but about stopping capitalism. It is where the Marxists have gone, and thrive, protecting the environment but a convenient calling card.

TXUS on August 16, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Ooookay, guess I’m not going to get a source for that first quote, but let me comment anyway:

“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

I don’t like how this is phrased. This sounds like their next idea will be huge, ridiculous government subsidies for alternative energy, in order to push businesses towards solar, wind, etc.

MadisonConservative on August 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming,

You can’t see when you’ve got your head permanently planted up your anal orifice.

But not to worry, the EPA will go after those EVIL GAS COMPANIES!

GarandFan on August 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Truth be known, Erika, the religion of environmentalism cares not about the environment, but about stopping capitalism. It is where the Marxists have gone, and thrive, protecting the environment but a convenient calling card.

TXUS on August 16, 2012 at 8:09 PM

This truth is known but rarely spoken. Green is the new Red

Rio Linda Refugee on August 16, 2012 at 8:16 PM

What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

Wow, this guy is a regular Albert Einstein or something

JusDreamin on August 16, 2012 at 8:17 PM

MadisonConservative on August 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM

okay, that made me shudder. Good catch MC.

JusDreamin on August 16, 2012 at 8:19 PM

The next thing we have to do before they get all hot and bothered about exporting the natural gas is switch our cars to Compressed natural gas. There are kits available now to make any car a dual fuel car.

Now we need a nationwide distribution system for natural gas — O wait we have one! Now all we need is fueling stations. O wait we have “gas” stations, which probably are hooked to the natural gas system. How difficult can it be to add the hardware to put it in a car? This may be where federal regulation comes in — in a positive way for a change — remember it only took months to add that 3rd pump (and underground tanks) for unleaded fuel in 1974 at 1000s stations across the country.

KenInIL on August 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM

But it doesn’t matter how much CO2 we put in the air. Greenhouse gases do NOT drive warming. If they did, then the temperature over the last twenty years would have continued to climb, just like the overall CO2 concentration has.

But temperature has either remained the same or fallen since 1998, so it’s NOT CO2 driving anything.

CO2 has NEVER been responsible for warming in the past and its not responsible for any warming now. That’s just BS because the government wants to tax carbon.

Watch these and get the facts:

The Great Global Warming Swindle
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov0WwtPcALE

Global Warming Doomsday Called Off
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3309910462407994295#

———————–

Axion on August 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM

“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,”

Well duh.

Gwillie on August 16, 2012 at 8:28 PM

I think everyone should just calm down and watch Gas Land a few more times.

It’s good for a real laugh…and gritting your teeth…

BigWyo on August 16, 2012 at 8:28 PM

what crap. The drop isn’t due to improved efficiencies. It’s due to our gutted economy. The engine of capitalism is barely sputtering, thanks to the marxists’ incessant assaults. THAT’s why our emissions have collapsed.

rayra on August 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

How did the ridiculous idea that CO2 regulates climate take such strong hold?

single stack on August 16, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Carbon emissions dropping? Sounds like a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the free market can produce an energy source that is emission-free or possibly carbon neutral that is affordable. No doubt, folks would even pay a bit more knowing that they are working against climate change.

Of course, the ultimate hope is the development of commercial nuclear fusion power. The next breakthrough in fusion technology will bring the investment dollars in massive amounts, ushering in a carbon emission-free age.

oakland on August 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

I read about this probably a month ago, old news. I believe it was linked from Drudge. Thoroughly ignored by the old machines.

tommytom02 on August 16, 2012 at 8:49 PM

If you want to see something interesting go to the USGS and look up Natural gas reserves then look up US consumption and work out how many years of reserves we have. Then consider that directional drilling (fracking) is in its infancy.

BullShooterAsInElk on August 16, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Lilith, did you fart?

HICON on August 16, 2012 at 8:53 PM

But when is the government promised flux capacitor coming to our cars?

Imrahil on August 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Natural Gas is cheap at the moment and Utility Operators know that it won’t remain so cheap. They are changing because of regulation of coal and they are being forced to subsidize green power. It’s artificial, coal is cheap and provides many jobs but hey we have been down the natural gas hole before maybe this time it will last a bit longer.

whbates on August 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere

A statement devoid of any proof

Animal60 on August 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Fracking is in trouble.

The highly prized silica sand needed for fracking is quietly being blacklisted by the environmental lobby. Dozens of communities and counties in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota are being pressured into declaring “frac sand mining” moratoriums.

The environmentalists are winning, folks.

No frac sand, no fracking.

This should be a HUGE story, but nobody out there seems to be connecting the dots.

There is even a GASLAND-style documentary (The Price of Sand) on frac sand mining in the works.

It’s a snail-darter scenario, folks.

Somebody out there needs to play Paul Revere on this.

Bruno Strozek on August 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Carbon emissions dropping? Sounds like a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the free market can produce an energy source that is emission-free or possibly carbon neutral that is affordable. No doubt, folks would even pay a bit more knowing that they are working against climate change.

Of course, the ultimate hope is the development of commercial nuclear fusion power. The next breakthrough in fusion technology will bring the investment dollars in massive amounts, ushering in a carbon emission-free age.

oakland on August 16, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Why are lowered carbon emissions a step in the right direction? What direction is that?

tom daschle concerned on August 16, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Fracking is in trouble.

Bruno Strozek on August 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

As I said in my post above, Nat Gas is cheap now!! Just wait awhile, we have been here before. Wait until there is very little coal being burnt and we are in the 50% to 60% range gas base loaded and substancially more homes are converted to gas.

This same thing happened in the Carter years. Different crisis same results.

whbates on August 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Power plant operator of a natural gas powered power plant here. Great to read positive stories on natural gas.

Decoski on August 16, 2012 at 10:10 PM

whbates on August 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I’m no fan of Mittens, but there are two things keeping me from sitting this one out: the Keystone pipeline and and Paul Ryan.

A very tepid lever pull for Romney, but a lever pull none-the-less.

Bruno Strozek on August 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

As somebody who works in this field, I feel “Purposeful”! Chick-Fil-As are on me! Just be nice yo the nice lady serving.

hutch1200 on August 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Enviros think the air in the United States stays in the United States as if we are covered by a giant circus tent…The air we breath in the US could be over China tomorrow. The earth has but one atmosphere and it is in constant flux as are ocean currents. If CO2 were actually a driver of average temps, then we would have to measure a drop in US emissions to world emissions to get the global shift. The so-called experts like Michael Mann make complete asses out of themselves with every new announcement.

Nozzle on August 16, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Don’t you think the EPA’s war on coal has any impact on the switch to natgas?

Charlemagne on August 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM

.
Nope. Economics is driving this, pure and simple.

listens2glenn on August 16, 2012 at 7:56 PM

It is partly due to EPA “rules”. Utilities are giving coal plants “early retirements”, up to 12 years early, rather than install new control equipment that costs 40-50% of the plant’s original cost, plus risking future crap-science based regs.
High Supply/Low Cost natgas makes the immediate decision easier, but may come back to bite when the Browns (Green+Red) apply the lesson in the story by taxing natgas and hyper-regulating fracking to drive the price above unreliable renewals. Guess brownouts will become more common – appropriate name…

Empiricist on August 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Imagine how low the C02 emissions would be if the cost of nuclear energy dropped to just the operational expenses without the billions and billions spent on lawyers to defend against the constant frivolous lawsuits brought by the green fascists.

Slowburn on August 17, 2012 at 1:00 AM

I found the source for that quote:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=158938626

CG - Colorado on August 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.

You don’t “make” cleaner energy sources cheaper – the MARKET determines the price. But I’m sure he’ll cite this as a perfect reason to subsidize other clean energy resources.

These guys still don’t get it.

Hill60 on August 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

When we need carbon emissions to go back up, will we switch back to petroleum like sensible people? (Got nothing against natural gas, BTW, but it’s not saving us from deadly peril.)

J.E. Dyer on August 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Yes, well, Michael Mann and his ilk are against the use of natural gas from fracking so he needs to shut the hockey sticks up about it. And, BTW, if atomic energy hadn’t been demonized by kooks like Mann, he would likely be doing his Chicken-little act about the coming Ice Age.

Knott Buyinit on August 17, 2012 at 5:42 PM