Outlook cools for US coal use

The US power sector's carbon emissions have been shown to be sensitive to policy changes and natural gas supply, which bodes well for Barack Obama's plan.

In 2012, almost 40 per cent of total US energy-related CO2 emissions resulted from electricity generation. About three-fourths of those power sector emissions occurred from burning coal, the most carbon-intensive fuel. Policies to reduce CO2 emissions could result in less consumption of coal in favour of natural gas, which emits about 40 per cent as much CO2 per kilowatt-hour as typical coal-fired generation when used in a combined-cycle plant, as well as increases in other low- or zero-carbon power generating technologies such as renewables and nuclear.

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