This little nugget of knowledge has been circulating for months on months by now, but once the Environmental Protection Agency has it on their books, you know there’s no way of getting around it (not that the Obama administration really wants to; as much as they are still on the prowl for reasons to further regulate natural gas and the extraction thereof, they’re happy to sing its praises as a “bridge” fuel to see us through toward their more heavily renewable future). The agency released its Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks this week, and you’ll never guess which energy source was the most successful player in bringing about “green” policy goals:
In 2012, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 6,525.6 Tg or million metric tons CO2 Eq. Total U.S. emissions have increased by 4.7 percent from 1990 to 2012, and emissions decreased from 2011 to 2012 b 3.4 percent (227.4 Tg CO2 Eq.). The decrease from 2011 to 2012 was due to a decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels consumed to generate electricity due to a decrease in coal consumption, with increased natural gas consumption. Additionally, relatively mild winter conditions, especially in regions of the United States where electricity is an important heating fuel, resulted in an overall decrease in electricity demand in most sectors. Since 1990, U.S. emissions have increased at an average annual rate of 0.2 percent.
Boom. As any eco-radical will be quick to tell you, it already looks like the emissions for 2013 probably ticked back up again, but isn’t it funny that a specific fuel so often derided by self-titled environmentalists — because of the hydraulic fracturing it usually requires — has had the greatest success at reducing emissions? Unlike in, say, Germany, which — in a fit of aggressive green whimsy a few years ago — decided to tamp down on hydraulic fracturing, do away with nuclear, and heavily subsidize renewables in one fell swoop? And is now seeing increased coal usage and higher emissions as a result? Maybe the Obama administration should reconsider natural gas’s status as a mere “bridge fuel,” perhaps? Just sayin.’