U.S. Carbon Emissions Lowest Since 1992

U.S. Carbon Emissions Lowest Since 1992
U.S. Carbon Emissions Lowest Since 1992

Carbon emissions from all sources were at their lowest level since 1992 in the first quarter of the year, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. Emissions from coal fell even further, reaching their lowest level since 1988.

The bar chart at left shows carbon emissions for the first quarter going back to 1992. They hit a high point in 2007-2008 but have fallen precipitously since then. The line graph at right shows carbon emission for every quarter since 1983. They tend to be highest in the winter because of the heating load. But coal emissions this year were the lowest for the first quarter since 1983 and the lowest for any quarter since April-June 1986.

EIA attributes the pattern to three factors:

* A mild winter that reduced heating demand

* A decline in coal-fired generation, largely due to historically low prices of natural gas.

* Reduced demand for gasoline for transportation.

The reduced industrial activity in the recession has also obviously had an impact.

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