Emissions of greenhouse gasses in the United States, specifically CO2 emissions related to the energy industry, are set to increase during this year and the next, the Energy Information Administration warned this Tuesday.
According to the agency’s Short Term Energy Outlook, energy-related emissions will increase during this year as a result of economic recovery from the pandemic.
Total increase may be at around 4,8 billion metric tons of CO2, during 2021, and 4,9 billion metric tons in 2022, EIA estimates.
As the worldwide spread of the covid-19 disease restricted movement and energy consumption, prompting emissions reduction of around 11% in 2020, this trend will change amid the recovery, but also by changes in the energy mix.
Greater demand for fuels, as traveling restarts; greater demand for electricity, amid colder weather prompting also heating demand, will also be factors for the emissions increase.
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The agency expects emissions from the petroleum sector to increase 46% in the total U.S. energy related emissions in 2021, and further 47% in 2022. Most of these emissions will be provoked by the transportation sector.
On natural gas, which represented about 36% of the total U.S. energy-related emissions in 2020, the agency expects a decline to about 34%.
Decline is expected due to a decrease in natural gas use, as its prices rise compared to coal’s. “Emissions from natural gas are declining mainly because natural gas consumption is declining as natural gas prices increase relative to coal prices,” the EIA explains.
Natural gas prices will rise 98 cents per million British thermal unit in 2021; while coal prices will rise just 12 cents per MMBtu. As a result, EIA foresees that natural gas’s share of CO2 emissions in 20222 will decrease to 32%.
Finally, coal, which accounted for 19% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020; EIA expects it to rise to around 21% this year. As coal becomes cheaper for electricity generation, it may increase its use and therefore its emissions share for this year and the next.