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Natural Gas Emissions to Surpass Coal for First Time in 44 Years

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Natural Gas Emissions to Surpass Coal for First Time in 44 Years

Carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas are projected to exceed emissions from coal by 10 percent this year for the first time since 1972, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Last year, natural gas use was 81 percent higher than coal, though their emissions were nearly equal. The EIA also noted that the country's overall carbon intensity has fallen 10 percent since 2005, driven by a decrease in coal use and an uptake of renewables, along with natural gas.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

U.S. Energy Information Administration

"Another contributing factor to lower carbon intensity is increased consumption of fuels that produce no carbon dioxide, such as nuclear-powered electricity and renewable energy," the EIA report noted.

"As these fuels make up a larger share of U.S. energy consumption, the U.S. average carbon intensity declines. Although use of natural gas and petroleum have increased in recent years, the decline in coal consumption and increase in nonfossil fuel consumption have lowered U.S. total carbon intensity from 60 MMmtCO2/quad Btu in 2005 to 54 MMmtCO2/quad Btu in 2015."

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