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US energy-related emissions hit 20-year low — EIA

2 Aug 2012, 4.32 pm GMT

US energy-related emissions hit 20-year low - EIA

London, 2 August (Argus) — US energy-related CO2 emissions dipped to their lowest for a first quarter since 1992 in January-March this year, US government agency the EIA said today.

The country's CO2 emissions from energy use fell by nearly 8pc on the year in January-March, to 1.34bn CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

Over the same period, CO2 emissions from coal declined by 18pc to 387mn t CO2e, the lowest first-quarter figure since 1983 and the least for any quarter since April-June 1986.

The decline in coal-related emissions is mainly a result of utilities turning more to natural gas because of historically low gas prices. The electricity sector generated around 90pc of energy-related CO2 emissions from coal.

Normally, the US' annual CO2 emissions peak in the first quarter because of strong demand for fossil-fuel generated heat. But CO2 emissions in the first quarter of this year were low because of a mild winter that reduced household heating demand, the decline in coal-fired power generation and reduced gasoline demand.

Coal has the highest emissions intensity among the major fossil fuels, resulting in coal-fired plants having the highest output rate of CO2e/kWh.

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