Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Recession Special: Cleaner Air

The previous Congress failed to pass climate change legislation, and the new House is openly hostile to the idea. But what the government has not mandated, the economy is doing on its own: emissions of global warming gases in the United States are down. According to the Energy Department, carbon dioxide emissions peaked in this country in 2005 and will not reach that level again until the early 2020s. “It’s important to note that the future isn’t what it used to be,” said David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He pointed out that the Energy Department’s projection of emissions in 2020 was lower in 2008 than in 2007, and has kept falling. How could that be? In part, the Great Recession has been good for something. “The recession has led to a smaller economy, less activity and less energy consumption,” said Revis W. James, director of the Energy Technology Assessment Center at the Electric Power Research Institute, a utility consortium. Electricity consumption had been growing at a rate of 1 percent to 1.5 percent a year, but the recession brought on the steepest drop in decades. When demand fell, the utilities cut back on the use of their least-efficient generating stations, the ones that emit the highest amounts of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour...more

Enviro Formula: Green Shackles = Clean Air

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