U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall in 2011
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions fell 2.4 percent in 2011, even as GDP increased 1.8 percent, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Since 1990, last year was only the sixth year to experience a decline in emissions. This reduction is partly attributed to an increase in natural gas usage due to lower prices and an associated decline in coal generation of over 6 percent, only the second (besides 2009) decline in coal use since 1949. Other reasons for the decline include improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency and an increased use of renewable energy. The Associated Press reported in the San Francisco Chronicle that some scientists are “cautiously optimistic” that this shift could be part of a longer-term trend.