EIA outlook: CO2 emissions to grow 3 percent in 25 years

The U.S. will make more natural gas than it will use and emissions are expected to increase in the next two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release.

Electricity demand is expected to grow slightly per year, while power consumption per capita declines slightly per year from 2010 to 2035. Total U.S. primary energy consumption grows from 98.2 quadrillion Btu in 2010 to 108 quadrillion Btu in 2035. The fossil fuel share of energy consumption falls from 83 percent of total U.S. energy demand in 2010 to 77 percent in 2035.

The U.S. is projected to become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016, a net pipeline exporter in 2025, and an overall net exporter of natural gas in 2021. The outlook reflects increased use of LNG in markets outside of North America, strong domestic natural gas production, reduced pipeline imports and increased pipeline exports, and relatively lownatural gas prices in the United States compared to other global markets.

The natural gas share of electric power generation increases from 24 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2035, and the renewables share grows from 10 percent to 16 percent over the same period. Over the next 25 years, the projected coal share of overall electricity generation falls to 39 percent,well below the 49-percent share seen as recently as 2007, because of slow growth in electricity demand, continued competition from natural gas and renewable plants, and the need to comply with new environmental regulations.

Energy-related CO2 emissions grow by 3 percent from 2010 to 2035, reaching 5,806 million metric tons (mmt) in 2035. They are more than 7 percent below their 2005 level in 2020 and do not return to the 2005 level of 5,996 mmt by the end of the projection period. Emissions per capita fall by an average of 1 percent per year from 2005 to 2035, as growth in demand for transportation fuels is moderated by higher energy prices and Federal fuel economy standards. Electricity-related emissions are tempered by appliance and lighting efficiency standards, state renewable portfolio standard requirements, competitive natural gas prices, and implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

Net imports of energy meet a declining share of total U.S. energy demand as domestic energy production increases. The projected net import share of total U.S. energy consumption in 2035 is 13 percent, compared with 22 percent in 2010.

To read the outlook, click here.

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