US Greenhouse Emissions Lowest Per Capita Since 1950, Thanks to Fracking

environmental extremists.

You won’t find “fracking” in this story but it’s why the US has been able to shift from coal to natural gas with much lower greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.7 percent from 2016 levels in 2017 with emissions from large power plants falling 4.5 percent. Emissions of carbon dioxide (the largest component of greenhouse gases) on a per-capita basis hit a 67-year low in 2017. U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 are the lowest since 1992 and per-capita emissions are the lowest since 1950. According to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, “These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government.”

greenhouse emissions

In contrast, greenhouse gas emissions globally increased in 2017 and are set to increase to historic highs by the end of this year, despite the Paris climate accord. China leads the world in greenhouse gas emissions and India and other developing countries also contribute to the global increases.

European countries are not on track to meet their own emissions reduction goals under the Paris accord. For example, Germany is expected to miss its 2020 emissions targets and will likely push its goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions back to 2030.

The United States led the world in carbon dioxide emissions cuts for the ninth time this century, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. According to BP, the European Union increased its carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 percent, with Spain accounting for 44 percent of the increase. German and French carbon dioxide emissions increased 0.1 and 2 percent, respectively, while the United Kingdom and Denmark reported the lowest carbon dioxide emissions since 1965 when BP’s data series began.

EPA’s Report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Inventory), produced annually by EPA for over 20 years, estimates total greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy using national-level data. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects detailed emissions data from over 8,000 of the largest greenhouse gas emitting facilities in the United States, covering approximately 85 to 90 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

China’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions Continue to Increase

China’s carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase at their fastest pace in over seven years during 2018. Carbon dioxide emissions in China—the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases—increased 4 percent in the first quarter of this year, based on Chinese government statistics covering coal, cement, oil, and natural gas. If that pace continues, it would be the fastest increase since 2011.

Although China invested heavily in wind and solar power, its emissions growth comes from increased demand for oil and natural gas due to increased car ownership and increased electricity demand. Recently, China’s government approved new thermal power projects, mostly coal, in four provinces, which had been held back over fears of overcapacity.

Greenhouse Emissions

Chinese steel output, which had appeared to have peaked in 2013, hit a new record in 2017.

Greenhouse Emissions


The United States is leading all countries in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, while other countries are having a hard time meeting their commitments to the Paris accord. China leads the world in increased carbon dioxide emissions and is on track this year to have the largest growth in carbon dioxide emissions since 2011 if its first quarter pace continues. China’s steel production, which peaked in 2013, is again on the rise. Other global countries are contributing to increased carbon dioxide emissions including India, other developing countries, and the European Union. It is of note that the one country to have announced its withdrawal from the Paris accord is leading the world in carbon dioxide reductions while simultaneously achieving enviable economic growth.

Editor’s Note: Note that US greenhouse gas emissions have fallen dramatically as shale gas produced via fracking combined with horizontal drilling has made natural gas both cheap and plentiful, providing a better way to generate electricity. The US, moreover, is the only nation that has done it on any kind of scale to date which accounts for its progress as adherents to the ludicrous Paris Agreement have failed miserably.

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3 thoughts on “US Greenhouse Emissions Lowest Per Capita Since 1950, Thanks to Fracking

  1. Facts do not matter to so called radical ‘hug the tree’ people. Sad but true, they will never be satisfied until they destroy our society.

  2. This article is just another IER attempt to spin everything to give undeserved credit to their right wing agenda. The cherry picked quote by IER ignores the role of state and federal governments regulating coal’s pollutants that affected the public and forced coal fired power plants to pay the real costs of eliminating them.

    It also ignores the fact that the reduction of greenhouse gas is almost entirely due to the replacement of coal with natural gas, not lifting the “heavy hand of government”. Gas does not need to be regulated like coal because it doesn’t pollute like coal. Anything done to privilege or aid coal will jeopardize the decline in greenhouse gas emissions. If you are in any way a friend of coal, your are an enemy of natural gas.

    Paying the costs of pollution made coal uneconomic, but unlike the anti’s and renewables, we have a superior alternative available now and in abundant supply. Then why is the EPA trying to deregulate an inferior fuel? The answer is simple, a quid pro quo for political contributions to the Trump campaign lead to three cabinet appointments, EPA, DOE and Interior, for the coal industry.

    What gas does need are pipelines to deliver it in and FERC has been its only friend, until now. Earlier this year FERC rejected a DOE plan giving special reliability status to coal because it can be piled up in huge piles next to a power station. In response for that stand, Neal Chattergee, formerly pro-coal Mitch McConnell’s chief of staff, has been appointed chairman of FERC and the author of the DOE coal plan appointed as a commissioner. No good deed goes unpunished.

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