Forbes is reporting that carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity generation fell last year to their lowest level since 1987, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Interestingly, the strongest driver is neither the shift from coal to natural gas nor the growth of renewables. More than half of the 28 percent drop in emissions has occurred because of a single factor: a decline in industrial demand for electricity, the EIA reported.
In fact, “U.S. electricity demand has decreased in 6 of the past 10 years, as industrial demand has declined and residential and commercial demand has remained relatively flat,” writes Perry Lindstrom, a senior energy and environmental analyst.
My take: the sad fact is that these industrial plants have moved overseas to places like China and India, which continue to rely heavily on coal to produce electricity. These overseas coal power plants do not have the environmental and pollution controls that are used by modern U.S. coal plants. So if you are concerned about power plant emissions, the U.S. is not the problem.