by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
What can possible unite these two items? Not only do they seem unrelated, they seem opposed.
The first is from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It’s a graph showing how the United States has become the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas. We’re even beating Russia and Saudi Arabia. As you can see, that wasn’t the case just a decade ago.
The second item is from the International Energy Agency’s new report out this month on Global CO2 emissions in 2019. Here’s the entry for the U.S.:
The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt.
US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period. A 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019. Coal-fired power plants faced even stronger competition from natural gas-fired generation, with benchmark gas prices an average of 45% lower than 2018 levels. As a result, gas increased its share in electricity generation to a record high of 37%.
How is it that these are both true?
Hasn’t everything we’ve been told over the past two decades said that those were impossible? Weren’t we under the impression that those things worked in opposition — that we’d have to choose between one or the other?
Here’s a hint: Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to ban it.
Here’s another hint: We wrote about it last year.
One more hint: It’s also a big reason for this: