Thank You Fracking!

Tom Finnerty13 Feb, 2020 2 Min Read
Peaceful coexistence.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted out the following on Wednesday:

FACT you will NEVER see on the 6 o’clock news: U.S. emissions FELL 2.9%, or by 140 million tons, continuing the trend of the United States LEADING THE WORLD IN TOTAL EMISSIONS DECLINE since 2000.

He was calling attention to a report from the International Energy Agency released this week entitled 'Global CO2 emissions in 2019.'

This report had some counter-intuitive findings, at least counter-intuitive if you've been raised according to the prevailing Green Orthodoxy. It begins "Global energy-related CO2 emissions flattened in 2019 at around 33 gigatonnes (Gt), following two years of increases," largely because advanced economies have been increasingly transitioning from coal to natural gas, nuclear, and wind and solar. Consequently, though the advanced economies of the world grew by almost 2% in 2019, CO2 emissions in those economies fell by 3.2%.

As for the mention of fracking in the title (and the context for Senator Cruz's tweet), here is what the report has to say about the old U.S. of A., which has benefited the most from the fracking revolution:

The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt. US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period. A 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019. Coal-fired power plants faced even stronger competition from natural gas-fired generation, with benchmark gas prices an average of 45% lower than 2018 levels. As a result, gas increased its share in electricity generation to a record high of 37%.

After discussing emissions declines in the EU and Japan, the IEA mention that

Emissions outside advanced economies grew by close to 400 Mt in 2019, with almost 80% of the increase coming from Asia. In this region, coal demand continued to expand, accounting for over 50% of energy use, and is responsible for around 10 Gt of emissions.

I find myself hoping that this report lands on Greta Thunberg's desk. (No, not her school desk, the one she actually uses). If it does, here's hoping that she picks up an "I Heart Fracking!" T-Shirt, and begins a worldwide awareness tour about CO2 emissions in China.

I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.

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