America is reducing its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions far more cost effectively than the rest of the world, according to a new study published by the left-wing Brookings Institution.
The Brookings report says its findings “would seem to license cautious optimism,” as they indicate that the global and American economies can continue growing even while slashing CO2 emissions. The report notes that America has cut CO2 emissions far more efficiently than the rest of the world.
“The [U.S.] is the largest country to decouple CO2 emissions from economic growth for multiple years, ” Dr. Devashree Saha, an associate fellow at the Brookings Institution who co-authored the study, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I think that the U.S. is one of the only countries that has done so consistently for multiple years and has done it consistently since basically 2001 while stilling growing its economy.”
Early projections from researchers at the Global Carbon Project found that global emissions will only rise by about 0.2 percent relative to last year, while U.S. CO2 emissions are expected to fall an additional 1.7 percent this year.
U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 percent after peaking in 2005 and its economy continued to grow at a higher rate than other developed countries. The European Union’s CO2 emissions, for example, increased by 0.7 percent last year. U.S. emissions that year fell to their lowest level in two decades even though the EU spent more money supporting wind, solar and bio-energy.
“We actually looked quite a bit into the shift from coal to natural gas and it’s one of the primary drivers of America’s reduction of CO2 emissions by quite a bit,” Saha said. “Gas is cheap and abundant due to the technological growth of hydraulic fracturing [fracking]. It’s certainly an important factor.”
Fracking is the primary reason for the decline in U.S. CO2 emissions as opposed to federal regulations, according to reports published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).