What a Surprise! Increased Renewable Energy Decreases GHG Emissions.

Yesterday, the Energy Information Administration reported that “Energy-related CO2 emissions for first six months of 2016 are lowest since 1991.”  The EIA gave three reasons for the drop in CO2 emissions.  eia-chart2

  • Mild weather. Of course, if global warming is our solution to reducing CO2 emissions, we better come up with something that works in the summer as well as the winter.
  • A decrease in coal consumption of 18% from 2015.
  • An increase in renewable fuel use of 9% from 2015. Wind supplied half the increase; hydroelectric power supplied 35%, and solar supplied 13%.

I understand concerns about how fast we need to de-carbonize the economy, but it’s better to be moving in the right direct rather than the reverse.

One thought on “What a Surprise! Increased Renewable Energy Decreases GHG Emissions.

  1. Gradually moving in the right direction is good thing. IMHO sustaining the goodness of this trending requires progressives to become more transparent and less hyperbolic.Climate Progressives (a ally sect distinct from Climate Activists) will take positions and act, not only on their conviction that Climate Change is real, but on related instant political objectives. A real time example comes to mind, President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). The CPP is of good progressive intentions but once the nuclear flaw became clear, a remedy was not pursued. The CPP favors natural gas and renewable generation at the expense of coal but does not protect 0 carbon nuclear generation. My Google based research indicates that at least 12GWs or 12% of the nation’s existing nuclear generation fleet will be shuttered by 2025; and most of said closures will occur in the Midwest and Northeast continuum. In 2015 existing nuclear capacity (~100GWs) provided 50% of nation’s 0 carbon energy. Such a 12% loss means that despite the CPP and its push for more natural gas and renewable generation and less coal, the nation’s electrical carbon foot print may (or is likely to) get larger.

    The decision not to remedy the CPP flaw, of not protecting existing nuclear power, is a political decision.There is significant progressive political value in having a CPP on the books, the nuclear flaw notwithstanding. There are numbers that suggest that the nation’s electric carbon foot print will get smaller with the embedded flaw but I am skeptical. The loss 12GWS of 0 carbon electric generating capacity is a very big number to make up, particularly when much of the replacement generation is and will continue be natural gas (a fuel with substantial carbon content particularly if methane at extraction is accounted for).

    So why doesn’t the Obama EPA address the nuclear flaw within the CPP? In my opinion they would like to but the politics are just to complicated. There is an obvious political concession to allied environmental progressive, who are passionately opposed to existing nuclear generation despite its 0 carbon attribute. They accept the progressive political value of having a flawed CPP on the books while hoping that the premature loss of 12% or more of the existing nuclear fleet will work out for a smaller electric carbon footprint. If Vegas was making book on the nation’s electrical carbon footprint, the odds would not favor the CPP.

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