The Associated Press reports that the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is at the lowest level in two decades. The information is from the Energy Information Administration, and though the story doesn’t mention this, it’s actually just a measure of the CO2 being released by the nation’s energy sector.
Government officials are pointing to a drop in coal burning and an increase in natural gas for the decline.
The AP reports that this was unexpected, mostly because it came from market forces and not from regulations.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for “cautious optimism” about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that “ultimately people follow their wallets” on global warming.
“There’s a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.
The full story is here.