America is doing a lot better on the green front than you might think. The U.S. doesn’t have a carbon market or an extensive renewable energy subsidy scheme, but it did see a 3.4 percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions from 2011 to 2012. That’s according to a new EPA report, which found that between 2005 and 2012, America’s emissions were literally decimated.So who do we have to thank for this good green news? Though it will pain environmentalists to hear it, the report said that chief driver behind these recent emissions reductions has been the displacement of coal (a very dirty fossil fuel) with cleaner-burning natural gas:
The decrease from 2011 to 2012 was due to a decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels consumed to generate electricity due to a decrease in coal consumption, with increased natural gas consumption.
America’s shale revolution has given us a veritable bounty of cheap natural gas. So cheap, in fact, that it’s out-competing coal on price, something renewables show no signs of doing. There’s no denying it anymore: Shale gas is fracking green.The U.S. is still mining coal, however, even as it burns less of the sooty rock, because it is exporting it to the world’s self-proclaimed environmental leader: Europe. In fact, Germany, which is in the process of phasing out its nuclear plants and propping up wind and solar energy with expensive subsidy schemes, is now burning more coal than it has in more than 20 years. While the U.S. is enjoying a fracking-led reduction in emissions, Germany actually saw an increase last year. Who’s the green paragon, now?