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U.S. co2 emissions fall dramatically due to decrease in coal use

June 27, 2012
KEYWORDS carbon / coal / emissions / energy / sierra
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air pollutionSince 2006, the U.S. has seen the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of any country or region, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report states that, during this time, U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen by 7.7 percent or 430 million metric tons, primarily due to a decrease in coal use. This decrease in carbon emissions is equal to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 84 million passenger vehicles or more than 53 million homes.

Coal was responsible for 33 percent of U.S. electricity last month, down from 50 percent just 10 years ago. According to analysis by the Vancouver Observer, CO2 emissions from the average American are now at the same levels that they were in 1964. These reductions put America on track to meet or exceed the goal President Obama set in the Copenhagen Accord of decreasing U.S. CO2 emissions by 17 percent by 2020.

“This report shows that we are finally getting serious about our footprint in the U.S. because we are getting serious about coal,” said Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor. “Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because it is a self-inflicted public health risk that pollutes the air we breathe and adds mercury to our water. And I’m pleased our efforts through Beyond Coal are contributing to this growing success.”

Beyond Coal is a grassroots campaign by the Sierra Club aimed at moving the country toward alternate energy sources.

"While we still have a lot more work to do, it’s clear that the work of the Sierra Club and other grassroots organizations is helping our nation make real progress in reducing dangerous pollution and mitigating the climate crisis,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

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