Report: U.S. Power Plant Carbon Dioxide Emissions Eased Slightly in 2008, But Much More Progress Needed to Meet CO2 Reduction Goals
Environmental Integrity Project Finds Downturn Linked to Recession and Mild Weather Last Year, Threatened By New Coal-Fired Plant Plans; Big Jumps Seen in OK, IA, TX, NE, IL and WA.
EIP officials cautioned that the one-year dip is a departure from the recent trends in power plant carbon dioxide emissions, which have risen 0.9 percent since 2003, and 4.5 percent since 1998, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Despite the slight overall national improvement in CO2 emissions, six states had increases in power plant emissions of 1 million tons or more from 2007 to 2008:
Commenting on the new report, EIP Senior Attorney
According to the EIP report: “The drop in CO2 emissions in 2008 is primarily attributable to a drop in electric generation — gross electric output was down approximately 3.3 percent in 2008, as compared to 2007, according to the EPA data. The economy and the weather are two key factors that affect electric generation and CO2 emissions from year to year. Other factors, including the rising demand for electricity and the growth of generation by both existing and new fossil-fired power plants over the past decade, may make it increasingly difficult to make needed long-term reductions and reverse the rising emissions trend. The Department of Energy predicts that carbon dioxide emissions from power generation will increase 15 percent between 2009 and 2030, due to new or expanded coal plants. According to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, an additional 1,392 megawatts of new coal-fired generating capacity was added in 2008, and another 26,131 megawatts have been permitted.”
EIP released the report today against a backdrop in which leading scientists agree on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 percent over the next fifty years. The Obama Administration has proposed a plan to reduce emissions by 83 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2050, through cap-and-trade legislation. The Administration has proposed an interim short-term goal of a 14 percent reduction in emissions by 2020.
The 10 states that emitted the most CO2 in 2008, measured in total tons, are:
The 10 states with the largest CO2 increases over the past 10 years (from 1998 to 2008) are:
According to the EIP report,
Reported C02 emissions were obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “Clean Air Markets” webpage. The database is a publicly accessible repository for emissions and other operational data self-reported by the utility industry, and includes more than 1,000 power plants regulated under the federal Acid Rain Program. Additional information on these programs and the database can be found on EPA’s Clean Air Markets web page at http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/.
The EIP report is available online at http://www.environmentalintegrity.org.
The Environmental Integrity Project (http://www.environmentalintegrity.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws. EIP has three goals: 1) to provide objective analyses of how the failure to enforce or implement environmental laws increases pollution and affects public health; 2) to hold federal and state agencies, as well as individual corporations, accountable for failing to enforce or comply with environmental laws; and 3) to help local communities obtain the protection of environmental laws.
SOURCE Environmental Integrity Project,