CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low
In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Isn’t that great news?
I think we need some uplifting climate change news with all the “doom and gloom” stories out there. Let’s keep it going.
The United States has cut its CO2 output more than any other country in recent years, with our output dropping since 2007. We are now close to 1990 levels and may be able to fit in with the Kyoto Protocols.
Of the fossil fuels, natural gas releases the least amount of air pollution and CO2. It is a homegrown source which improves our energy independence and stability, as well as keeping our money at home.
Coal has gone from producing half our energy to only one-third.
** Fracking for natural gas – it is unknown how destructive this new, hugely popular process is.
The term ‘carbon sink’ is becoming more common as we all gain the scientific education needed to deal with climate change and global warming.
According to Wikipedia, carbon sinks can be both natural and artificial. Both involve the process of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is called carbon sequestration.
The main natural carbon sinks are the oceans and plants, and with our planet covered in so much water, the oceans are the biggest sinks on Earth. The main artificial ones are landfills and the various carbon capture projects.
In those countries that follow the Kyoto Protocol, the use of artificial carbon sinks can serve as a way to offset other carbon use.
Of course, as we are pumping more carbon into the atmosphere our natural carbon sinks are ingesting more carbon dioxide:
Nature has her own way of dealing with excess carbon dioxide. When human activities spew CO2 into the atmosphere, plants absorb more of it than usual, leading to profuse growth. The ocean, too, swallows more than it otherwise would. Many scientists fret that these so-called carbon sinks risk getting clogged up. Some even suggest that this has already started happening. - The Economist
Some even estimate that the amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans and plants has doubled. Nobody knows what this means, maybe it can continue and alleviate some of our carbon problems, or there could be a backlash effect.
For more on this, check out The Economist article, That Sinking Feeling.