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Hail Shale
US Takes the Green Lead

New numbers show that in 2012, America led the developed world in reducing its emissions, outpacing even the efforts of supposedly green-minded Europe. Reuters reports:

In 2012 “the success story is the declining emissions in the United States,” said Glen Peters, of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. “Europe is a mix with slow GDP growth offset by a shift to coal in some countries.” […]

U.S. emissions fell 3.4 percent in 2012 to 6.5 billion tonnes, the lowest since 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on April 15. The fall was linked to low natural gas prices, helped by a shale gas boom and a shift from coal, a mild winter and greater efficiency in transport.

American emissions dropped 3.4 percent in 2012, more than double the EU’s less impressive 1.3 percent reduction. Europe has long seen itself as the world’s “green” leader and has adopted a number of elaborate strategies in an attempt to live up to that self-billing.

So it’s significant that America is actually leading the world when it comes to emissions reductions and sustainable development. The U.S. lacks the elaborate subsidy schemes and carbon markets that Europe has put in place, but thanks to the shale boom it has been able to reduce emissions without curtailing growth. In fact, the U.S. is not only greener than Europe, it’s growing faster, again thanks in large part to fracking.

America’s newfound bounty of natural gas is not only good for the environment (to the extent that the natural gas produced displaces much more carbon-intensive coal as a source of electricity); it’s good for the economy. There’s a lesson here, if greens could only see it: Growth and green goals are not mutually exclusive, and in fact they seem to work best when pursued in tandem.

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  • PKCasimir

    So the greenies in Oslo think that the US had a “mild winter.” Out of touch, much? Just how do you give me them credibility on this issue when they think this?

    • Martin W. Lewis

      The mild winter in question was that of 2012-2013, not 2013-2014.”The 2012-2013 winter (December, January, February) was significantly cooler than the winter of 2011-2012. But don’t be misled. This past winter was still well above average in contrast to longterm records. It ranked as the 20th warmest winter recorded since record-keeping began.” From

      • PKCasimir

        Tell that to my home heating bills.

        • Martin W. Lewis

          The figures that I provided above are national averages. They say nothing about conditions in a particular place, such as your backyard. Your home heating bills are irrelevant. Data, not personal anecdotes, are what matter in such discussions.

  • mc

    Europe is not green; it’s pink. Any problem to which socialism is the sole possible solution is misconstrued.

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