The Energy Department has just released a report that ought to leave the greens asking: How did we get this so wrong? As the AP reports, the study shows that US carbon emissions have just hit their lowest level in 20 years. How was this reduction achieved? Natural gas:
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.Many of the world’s leading climate scientists didn’t see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
For years, American greens have pushed carbon-trading as the best way to reduce carbon emissions. Yet now carbon emissions are dropping, thanks not to an intrusive government tax on carbon, but to the brown industry and fracking technologies greens vociferously oppose.Meanwhile, Europe’s massive carbon-trading scheme has had decidedly mixed results in reducing emissions, and may even be encouraging the production of dangerous pollutants. With this news, the case for America to follow Europe’s lead on carbon has become considerably tougher to make.