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Trends in US energy related CO2 emissions

Oilfield Technology,

The UE EIA has said that US energy related CO2 emissions were 10% below the 2005 benchmark last year. Emissions in 2013 were roughly 2% above the 2012 level and 1.5% below the 2011 level, when emissions were 8.6% below the 2005 level. Recently released data for state level through to 2011 has shown different parts of the US generally experienced this downward trend, but it was variable.

A closer look

Between 2005 and 2011, West, South, Midwest and Northeast USA experienced emissions declines, with the Northeast experiencing largest emissions reductions than other regions. Underlying state level emissions changes spanned an even wider range, from a 20% emissions increase in Nebraska to a 33% decrease in Nevada, in the Midwest and West respectively. Regional and subregional spreads reflect differences in local energy economics, population distribution and other factors.

The drivers of faster, larger emissions declines in the Northeast include extensive urbanisation, translating into denser, more energy efficient population centres, and increasingly low carbon electricity generation from natural gas, nuclear and renewables, instead of coal. The Northeast includes the top three lowest emitting states per unit of economic output and two of the top five states with the cleanest electricity sources.

When compared to the Northeast, the other regions have more diverse state level characteristics, which contributed to relatively slower net emissions declines. Steep emissions reductions in some states were partially offset by rising emissions elsewhere. An example is that states like Wyoming, North Dakota and West Virginia, have more carbon intensive energy production, higher and less efficient energy use in more sparsely populated areas, and heavily coal reliant electricity generation compared to other states in the West, Midwest and South. Since 2009, factors driving the sight rise in Nebraska’s emissions profile have included the noted expansion of the biofuels industry and an increased production of crude oil as well as the temporary closure of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant. However, Nevada’s lower bounding trend shows the effects of substantially decarbonising its electric power sector, between 2005 and 2011, Nevada significantly reduced its coal use, while increasing solar and geothermal use.

Adapted for website by Claira Lloyd

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