Friday, September 28, 2012

Greenpeace numbers show a different story

Graph: US EIA CO2 emissions data

For a couple years now I've been teaching that the small but significant percentage decrease in US emissions since 2008 is largely through natural gas substitution for coal. This fact was also an supporting point in an opinion piece I wrote that appeared in Andy Revkin's New York Times blog. But it seems that the decrease may have been more than half due to growth in wind and solar power (mostly large scale wind power).

This news comes in Damian Carrington's Guardian blog, where he reports a Greenpeace reanalysis of the September US emissions report. (Although he immediately jumps to the conclusion that this means that UK shale gas will be of similar inconsequence for emissions.)

Apparently I'm not the only one who was fooled. MIT, the Wall Street Journal, the NYT, and many others have reported the reduction as being due to expansion of shale gas production.

This conclusion made sense, especially when you looked at the low, low market price of gas. But it may have been wrong. And in a good way.

A small victory for renewables.

I guess I'll have to change my teaching.

But after I take a long hard look at the numbers for myself.

No comments: