This was a major setback for me last week, US greenhouse gases emissions related to energy rose two percent in 2013 compared to 2012. To the US EIA this is due to ” a small increase in coal consumption in the electric power sector. “
” Coal has regained some market share from natural gas since a low in April 2012 “ This is explained by decreased coal prices and rising natural gas prices as the Los Angeles Times reported.
Overall, US emissions are still around ten percent lower than in 2005. President Obama goal’s is to have 17 percent lower emissions in 2020.
- California installed in 2013 as much solar photovoltaic capacity as in the 30 previous years combined, going from one to two gigawatts of capacity in a single year. In 2012, the Golden State had installed 500 MW of capacity. Yes, the installed capacity doubled from one year to another. This is a good omen for solar. Please check out Treehugger for more.
- On the other side of the United States, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has tightened its carbon markets by 45 percent to boost market prices and thus, making polluting more expansive. the RGGI comprises nine Northeastern states including New York, Massachucetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. RTCC has the full story.
- Energy Star has published a brilliant infographic on how energy efficient light bulbs are still massively unused by the US market as 70 percent of light bulbs sockets still contain inefficient bulbs. While the average household has around 30 light fixtures, changing only one of these to efficient models would bring massive benefits. So, imagine switching all of them…
All these news show that while renewable energy and carbon markets are great in cutting emissions, energy efficiency is KEY to cutting greenhouse gases emissions and that taxing carbon emissions in the whole country is needed to make coal less competitive. We will get back to that point soon, so stay tuned.