By Bobby Magill
5 January 2017
(Climate Central) – The amount of energy Americans use and the pollution they emit from using coal, oil, and natural gas are not likely to change radically over the next 30 years, even as the U.S. becomes a major energy exporter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook, published Thursday.
The outlook, which does not factor in any policies from the incoming fossil fuel-friendly Trump administration, shows that the U.S. is unlikely to make significant gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, even though zero-carbon renewables are expected to grow faster than any other energy source over the next three decades.
Electricity generation is expected to remain the largest single use of energy in the U.S., but crude oil use for transportation is expected to be largest source of energy-related carbon emissions. Carbon emissions from transportation surpassed those from electric power generation for the first time in U.S history in 2016.
The U.S. is likely to become a major exporter of energy because it is expected to produce about 20 percent more energy than it does today through 2040 while using only about 5 percent more energy, said EIA administrator Adam Sieminsky.
“We’re going to have fairly strong domestic production of energy and relatively flat demand,” he said. “You put those two together, it implies that the U.S. could become a net energy exporter.” And that could happen as soon as 2026.
That scenario, in addition to gains in energy efficiency across the country and declining coal consumption, will keep annual carbon emissions from energy use roughly level with today’s — about 5.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to EIA data. Energy-related carbon emissions in the U.S. have been falling since they peaked at about 6 billion metric tons in 2007. [more]