Coal / Energy

U.S. power plant emissions fall to near 1990 levels, decoupling from GDP growth

The economy is growing as carbon dioxide emissions fall and renewable energy rises. A new report examines the carbon footprint of the top electricity generator

WASHINGTON, DC — “Emissions from the nation’s power generators have been on the decline, even as the economy has grown—providing evidence that contradicts pro-coal arguments promoted by the Trump administration.

A report released Wednesday by the consulting firm M.J. Bradley & Associates finds that climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions from the country’s power generators declined between 2005 and 2015 as the companies shifted away from coal and toward renewable energy sources and natural gas. Preliminary data from 2016 suggests that emissions dropped further last year, putting them at or near the same level they were in 1990. Meanwhile, the report notes, gross domestic product (GDP) has grown steadily over the same period.

…The report looks at the 100 largest energy generators in the U.S. and compares generation data gathered from the U.S. Energy Information Administration with data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury. Between 1990, when Congress passed major reforms to the Clean Air Act, and 2015, power plant emissions of all four fell.”

— Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate News

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