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Fracking Reduces CO2 to 1993 Levels

by Elizabeth Alford on May 29, 2016

CO2 levels in the air are at the lowest levels in 25 years, according to Energy Information Administration.

Related: Fracking Facts: A Healthier Alternative to Coal

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a new report last month citing dramatic drops in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions levels, which can be attributed to hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. The report says that levels were the lowest since 1993.

The report states that the “drop in natural gas prices, coupled with highly efficient natural gas-fired combined-cycle technology, made natural gas an attractive choice to serve baseload demand previously met by coal-fired generation. Coal-fired generation has decreased because of both the economics driven by cost per kilowatthour compared to that of natural gas and because of the effects of increased regulation on air emissions.”

For seven of the months in 2015, the amount of energy from natural gas surpassed that of coal at the same time that prices dropped. Natural gas power plants produce about 40% of the CO2 emitted from a coal plant creating the same amount of electricity. 


CO2 levels drop


This report is in line with many other studies on the benefits of gas over coal. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1,000,000 lives are shortened worldwide and 24,000 in the U.S annually as a direct result of coal particle pollution. Sulfur dioxide, mercury, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide are the four main coal emissions that can cause health problems ranging from chronic asthma and bronchitis to acid particles in the lungs and even death.


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