Based on data from the Energy Department, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from energy production fell in the United States in 2011. The is reportedly the third time in the last four years and the fourth time in the last six years.
According to the Energy Department, the slower economic growth is one of the factors in the 2.4-percent drop in energy-related carbon emissions last year. Another reason was high gasoline prices resulting in Americans driving fewer miles on the road.
Likewise, the LA Times report indicates that CO2 emissions from energy production also declined in the U.S. during the global recession in 2008 and 2009. The Energy Department’s study shows that carbon emissions from energy production in the U.S. fell by 10 percent.
However, as per the LA Times report, the Energy Department found that the 2011 decline in CO2 emissions is noteworthy because it happened during a period of economic growth, with U.S. gross domestic product rising by 1.8 percent last year.
"Because the decline in CO2 emissions occurred in a growing economy, the carbon intensity of the economy fell,” the Energy Department said. “This was mainly a result of using less energy or, in some cases, using less carbon-intensive energy, to achieve the same economic output."
Although the mild winter in 2011 also contributed to using less energy to warm homes and offices, the Energy Department identified the shift to less carbon-intensive energy production as a factor, wrote LA Times reporter Ronald D. White.
"Electric power generation from natural gas, the least carbon intensive of the fossil fuels, increased by 3 percent, while generation from coal declined by 6 percent," the Energy Department said, according to the report.
Similarly, as per the Department’s statements, power generation from renewable sources also continued to rise. However, White wrote that the U.S. still has a long way to go in reducing its carbon footprint.
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Edited by Braden Becker