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.