US CO2 emissions stays below 2005 levels as coal use shrinks

US energy-related CO2 emissions will be 7 per cent lower than their 2005 level of nearly 6 billion metric tons in 2020 as coal's share of electricity production continues a steady descent over the next two decades, according to new government data.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) have released an early version of its annual energy outlook, which predicted a slowdown in growth of energy use over the next two decades amid economic recovery and improved energy efficiency.

The report highlights the fact that carbon-intensive coal generation will see a major decline in the power sector in the coming decades, which will ensure energy-related CO2 emissions will not exceed 2005 levels at any point before 2035, reports Reuters.

"Over the next 25 years, the projected coal share of overall electricity generation falls to 39 per cent, well below the 49-per cent 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," the report said.

The retirement of old, inefficient coal-fired power plants will outpace new construction, and the report added that gas-fired plants - which are cheaper to build - will generate 13 per cent more power in 2012 than they did last year.

Meanwhile, the share of electricity generation from renewable fuels is expected to grow from 10 per cent in 2010 to 16 per cent by 2035, according to the EIA.

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