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Carbon emissions to fall, natural gas use up in 2009: EIA

6 October 2009– Carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil and natural gas is expected to drop 5.9 percent this year thanks to the recession and a push to replace fossil fuels at generation plants, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The substitution of natural gas for coal and an increase in renewable sources should help cut emission output, the EIA said in its October Short Term Outlook.

EIA also said the use of some fossil fuels has fallen faster than others. Lower coal consumption accounts for 63 percent of the drop in CO2 emissions, petroleum accounted for 30 percent and natural gas 7 percent.

Electricity generation from natural gas is expected to grow 5.5 percent this year while coal-fired power falls 11 percent. The outlook said this is in part the result of a drop in natural gas prices to $4.45 per million Btu, more than 51 percent lower than 2008. By contrast, coal prices are expected to rise 7 percent to $2.21 per million Btu. EIA also predicts a 5.4 increase in power generation from hydroelectric dams and a 19 percent rise in generation from wind farms.

Output from nuclear power plants is expected to remain level with last year while solar and biomass is expected to generate less electricity compared to 2008.
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