The U.S. Energy Information Administration had some good news Wednesday. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions dropped to their lowest point since 1991. (CO2 emissions are blamed for climate change.)
The EIA cited three factors for the fall. The country experienced mild weather in the first six months of this year, because it had the fewest heating degree days since 1949. Heating degree days are an indicator in heating demand. Overall, total primary energy consumption was 2 percent lower compared with the first six months of 2015 — driven in large part by a 9 percent drop in residential energy consumption. Coal consumption, which generates more carbon emissions than natural gas, fell 18 percent as the country changed its mix of coal versus natural gas. (The consumption of both dropped, but coal consumption dropped more. Consumption of renewable fuels that do not produce carbon dioxide increased 9 percent during the first six months of 2016 comparied with the same period in 2015. Wind energy accounted for nearly half of that increase.