Report: Carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. energy sources up in 2018
Although CO2 emissions have been on a downward trend since 2010, they rose to 5.27 billion metric tons in 2018 — 2.7% more than in 2017, according to EIA.
“The primary reasons for the increase were higher natural gas-related emissions resulting from more extreme summer and winter weather and growth in transportation-related petroleum emissions,” EIA said.
Coal-related CO2 emissions declined by 4% in 2018, making coal the only fossil fuel with lower CO2 emissions in 2018 compared with 2017, EIA said.
Natural gas consumption and emissions increased in 2018 largely because of colder winter and hotter summer weather. Natural gas is both the most prevalent home heating fuel and the most prevalent fuel used to generate electricity. Because both heating and cooling demand were higher in 2018, total natural gas emissions increased by 10%, EIA said.
Total U.S. electricity generation increased by 3.6% in 2018, but electric power sector CO2 emissions only increased by 1.1%. In recent years, the U.S. electricity generation mix has shifted away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables, EIA said.
The shift from coal to natural gas lowers the CO2 emissions’ intensity because natural gas produces lower emissions per unit of energy used than coal and because natural gas-fired generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatt hour of electricity, EIA said.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .