Electricity Sector Focus
Daniel Klein, President of Twenty-First Strategies, has over forty years of experience in energy, environmental, and economic analysis. He works with energy companies, government agencies, NGOs, and others on issues of climate change, energy security, strategic planning, sustainability, and related policies.
In its recently released March 2018 Monthly Energy Review, the U.S. Energy Information Agency published its first, though still preliminary, full-year estimates of 2017 energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States. Two key trends stand out:
For the overall U.S., CO2 emissions for 2017 are estimated at 5,153 million metric tons (MMT), down 34 MMT from 2016. Since 2005, CO2 emissions are down 838 MMT or fourteen percent.
For the U.S. electric power sector, CO2 emissions for 2017 are estimated at 1,753 MMT, down 68 MMT from 2016. Since 2005, CO2 emissions are down 663 MMT or twenty-seven percent.
These improvements are stunning, unthinkable even ten years ago. The years 2005 and 2007 marked the peak years of CO2 emissions for the total U.S. and the electric power sector, following several decades of near-unbroken annual increases.
The sharp fall in U.S. CO2 emissions since then is unprecedented in U.S. and world history. This article provides some analysis of these trends.