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Carbon emissions in the US fall to lowest in 19 years

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According to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), the carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, fell last year to the lowest level since 1994.

The fall, of 13% is due to new energy saving technologies and a doubling in the take up of renewable energy. The reduction in climate pollution brings the States over halfway towards Obama’s target of cutting emissions by 17% compared to 2005 levels over the next decade. At the end of last year the carbon dioxide emissions had fallen 10.7% since 2005.

“There have certainly been some solid results on the board in the US as a result of all these changes,” Ethan Zindler, a BNEF analyst said.

Lisa Jacobson, president of the BCSE, said the Bloomberg findings exposed the conservative argument that acting on climate change would be a drag on the economy. Instead, carbon emissions declined even as GDP was going up, she noted.

As described by Bloomberg, the US is in the throes of a major shift in energy production. Coal fell to just 18.1% of America’s energy mix last year, down from 22.5% in 2007. Oil use also declined.

31% of America’s electricity was from gas-fired power plants in 2012.

The report found steadily expanding installation of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy. Renewables represented the largest single source of new growth last year, reaching $44bn in 2012, the report said, the report said.

Total energy use fell in the same time period, by 6.4% since 2007. Most of the emissions cuts were due to efficient cooling and heating systems in commercial building.

Other cuts in emission came from transport, with 488,000 Americans last year opting for hybrid and plug-in vehicles.

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