Obama Administration’s climate credentials questioned as US greenhouse gas levels inch upwards
US greenhouse gas emissions from the country’s power sector are likely to have risen 2% in 2013, according to new data from the federal Energy Information Administration.
The country’s emissions had steadily declined since 2010, due a switch from coal to natural gas for electricity production.
But a doubling of gas prices since 2012 and a sharp rise in energy consumption led many providers to fire up their coal power plants.
“There is a slow increase in the gas price…and the gas price is determining coal’s market share,” EIA analyst Tyson Brown told RTCC.
The Obama administration maintains it is committed to cutting emissions 17% on 2005 levels by 2020, but these latest figures will raise serious questions over its progress.
Emissions are currently 10% below 2005 levels, but a recent State Department submission to the UN acknowledged that unless new regulations governing coal power plants are enforced, it is unlikely to meet this target.
Brown said the EIA’s current analysis did not factor in these new emission standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), acknowledging that this would change the agency’s longer term projections.
Despite a decline in coal use for electricity since 2005, production has remained constant, feeding markets in Asia and Europe.