US energy-related CO2 emissions are likely to grow 2.7% by 2040 from 2013 levels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its annual outlook, which did not take into account the Clean Power Plan.
Energy-related emissions are likely to hit 5,549 million tonnes of CO2e in 2040, up 144 million tonnes on 2013 levels, the EIA said in its annual energy outlook, released Tuesday.
That would represent a 7.4% reduction from 2005, far less than the US target to cut GHG emissions 26-28% from 2005 by 2025 and 80% by 2050. However, it would also equate to a 2.3%/year drop in the country’s carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) between 2013 and 2040.
Only in a low economic growth scenario would the US’s absolute emissions go down, based on current trends and policies, the report said, but even then the world’s second-biggest emitter would only achieve a 13.9% reduction from 2005 by 2040.
The main sources of carbon growth would be the electric power sector and increased industrial activity fuelled by cheap access to shale gas, it said.
The EIA predictions did not take into account the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s initiative to reduce emissions from power plans by 30% from 2005 to 2030.
The plan is facing political and legal resistance, but without it the US is likely to miss its climate targets, the EIA report showed.
As pointed out in a recent Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, the US economy is set to become cleaner, as coal plants retire and more renewable energy comes online.
But the EIA said the growth in renewables would slow down from 2018.
“From 2018 through about 2030, the growth of renewable capacity moderates, as relatively slow growth of electricity demand reduces the need for new generation capacity,” it said.
“In addition, the combination of relatively low natural gas prices and the expiration of several key federal and state policies results in a challenging economic environment for renewables.”