Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)increased by 45 % between 1990 and 2010, and reached an all-time high of 33 billion tons in 2010. Increased energy efficiency, nuclear energy and the growing contribution of renewable energy are not compensating for the globally increasing demand for
Global emissions of carbon dioxide will drop 3 percent in 2009, including a 5.9 percent decrease in the United States, as a result of the economic recession, according to energy forecasts.
A decrease in industrial activity accounts for three-quarters of the global emissions decline, the International Energy Agency reported at United Nations climate talks in Bangkok. The rest of the decline is the result of nations switching to renewable energy sources and nuclear power.
In the U.S., coal demand will likely drop 9 percent this year as electricity demand slips and more states switch to natural gas in the face of stiffer government oversight of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Economic recovery would likely reverse the trend, and the agency predicts a 1.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions in 2010.
The rapid growth of wind power in Texas is already reducing consumption of natural gas and lowering the cost of electricity generation in the state, according to a Wall Street research group. Bernstein Research reports that the rising output of wind turbines in Texas — the world’s sixth-largest producer of wind power — has eliminated the need to fire up natural gas-powered generators to meet the last bit of demand during periods of low energy usage.
Powering up natural gas generators is expensive, and Bernstein reports that the spreading use of wind turbines “can have a material impact on the price of power.” The report predicted that the “growth of wind power in (Texas) over the next three years will markedly lower the consumption of gas and coal by conventional generators.”
Worldwide demand for energy will increase by 44 percent in the next 20 years, with developing economies – particularly those in China, India, Brazil, and Russia – accounting for nearly 75 percent of the demand growth, according to a forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).