CO2 From US Power Plants Said To
Show Biggest Jump In Decade
Mar 18, 2008 - Dow Jones Newswire
The amount of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse
gas, released by the nation's power plants grew by
nearly 3% last year, the largest annual increase in
nearly a decade, an environmental group said Tuesday.
The analysis of government emissions figures covered
more than 1,000 plants including those burning coal,
natural gas and oil.
The report by the Environmental Integrity Project,
a Washington-based advocacy group, said that the 2.9%
increase in CO2 releases outpaced a 2.3% year-to-year
increase in electricity production.
"Carbon emissions actually increased faster than
(electricity) demand," said Eric Schaeffer, the group's
executive director. He said reduced efficiency of
older coal-burning power plants that often are some
of the largest coal burners may have been one reason
for the CO2 increase.
The report said that Texas, Georgia, Arizona, California
and Pennsylvania had the biggest one-year increases.
Bill Sang, climate issues director for the Edison
Electric Institute, said the increase reflected greater
demand for power last year and a shortage of hydroelectric
power that forced utilities to shift to fossil fuels.
"We think as much as two-thirds of the (CO2) increase
was due to increased demand for electricity," said
Sang, whose organization represents utilities that
generate 70% of the electricity.
Carbon dioxide is the leading so-called "greenhouse
gas" that is linked to global warming. It is a product
of burning fossil fuels. Power plants account for
nearly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions
a year, about a third of the U.S. total.
"The amount that we're emitting today makes any long-term
(reduction) goals that much harder to reach," said
Melissa McHenry, spokeswoman for Ohio-based American
Electric Power (AEP), which has 25 coal-burning power
plants in nine states, said her company showed a 2.8%
increase in CO2 emission in 2007, but "we also saw
a 3.6% increase in electricity demand." She said AEP
is investing in wind generation and purchasing carbon
"offsets" through a carbon exchange program.
According to the environmental group's analysis,
the most CO2 in 2007 came from power plants in Texas,
262 million tons; Ohio, 138.6 million tons; Florida,
134.5 million tons; Indiana, 132 million tons; and
Pennsylvania, 123.6 million tons. Those numbers did
not take into account amount of power produced.
States where plants release the most CO2 per megawatt-hour
of electricity generated were North Dakota, Wyoming,
Kentucky, Indiana and Utah.