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Carbon dioxide pollution down by 3.8 percent in United States

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It was the biggest since reduction in more than 20 years - the United States has dropped its carbon dioxide pollution by 3. 8 percent. The primary man-made gas that contributes to global warming, the only year with a bigger drop in carbon dioxide pollution was in 2009, when the nation was grippe din recession. While this is welcomed as good environmental news, there remains a long road ahead for the U.S. To cut carbon dioxide emissions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The carbon dioxide pollution drop by 3.8 percent in 2012 was the second biggest drop since 1990. American cars and factories spewed 5.83 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2012, which was down from 6.06 billion in 2011.

It's still the lowest level for U.S. emissions since 1994.

How was this reduction made possible? According to Energy Department economist Perry Lindstrom, the reduction is largely due to warm winter weather, more efficient cars due to new mileage requirements as well as an ongoing shift from coal-power to natural gas to produce electricity.

The shift to coal is a significant factor, as well as a slow economic recovery. Director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center Jay Apt says that in 1994 coal provided 52 percent of the U.S. Power. That figure is now down to 37 percent. Burning coal produces far more carbon dioxide than burning natural gas.

Previous cuts in carbon pollution were mostly due to economic factors, In 2009, the U.S. economy was growing 2.8 percent and its energy use was dropping by more than two percent.

Economists measure energy efficiency and how real reductions are in carbon pollution, by calculating carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product. From 2011 to 2012, the United States carbon pollution per GDP dropped by a record 6.5 percent, proving that this decline was clearly not due to a recession.

"This latest drop in energy-related carbon emissions is reason for cautious optimism that we're already starting to move in the right direction," Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said. "But this alone will not lead us toward the dramatic carbon reductions necessary to avoid dangerous climate change."

Sadly, this trend is not being reflected worldwide. In 2011, the world carbon dioxide emissions jumped three percent, because of a large increase by China, the No. 1 carbon polluting country. The U.S. remains in second place.

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