CO2 emissions from energy use in the US fell in 2015 for the first time in three years as natural gas use increased and coal consumption fell, the Energy Information Administration said.
Energy-related CO2 emissions fell to just below 5.3 billion tonnes last year, compared to nearly 6 billion a decade ago, EIA data showed.
“Many of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions in recent history have occurred in the electric power sector because of the decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation,” the agency said.
Fuel-use changes accounted for 68% of the drop in emissions since 2005.
CO2 emissions have dropped amid increased access to cheap natural gas combined with the closures of coal-fired power plants that are no longer economically viable.
In 2015 alone, 94 coal plants with a combined capacity of over 13,500 MW shut down, the EIA announced earlier this year.
The United States is in the process of decoupling economic growth and carbon emissions. Since 2005, the economy has grown 15% while emissions have gone down.
CO2 emissions per unit of GDP dropped 23% over the decade, EIA said.
Under the Paris Agreement the US has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org