US leads the way in drop in global greenhouse gas emissions

CUTTING DOWN ON EMISSIONS: An increased use of natural gas has helped the U.S. drop its greenhouse gas emissions to its lowest amount since 1994.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE, N.M. — Plenty has been written about the amount of greenhouse gases getting pumped into the atmosphere, but a recent international study shows the amount coming from industrialized nations is actually declining. And the U.S. is leading the way.

Compiling data submitted to the United Nations, the Reuters news agency determined that greenhouse gas emissions fell by 1.3 percent in 2012, with the U.S. reporting a decrease of 3.4 percent — down to 6.5 billion tons, the lowest amount since 1994.

“The fall was linked to low natural gas prices, helped by a shale gas boom and a shift from coal,” Reuters reported.

“The success story is the declining emissions in the United States,” said Glen Peters, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

New Mexico has one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, located in the San Juan Basin in the northwestern part of the state. Natural gas producers have been calling on the Obama administration to increase and develop liquefied natural gas exports to foreign countries such as Japan.

The report said the European Union saw a dip in emissions of 1.3 percent in 2012 to 4.5 billion tons. That’s down 19.2 percent from 1990 levels, the European Environment Agency said.

But there’s concern that emissions from emerging nations such as China, Brazil and India are more than making up for the reductions seen in the U.S. and other industrialized nations.

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has called for cutting global greenhouse gas emissions of 3 percent per year and Corinne Le Quere, professor of climate change at Britain’s University of East Anglia, said far tougher action was needed.

“It requires a transformation in the way we use energy,” she said.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at rnikolewski@watchdog.org and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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