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U.S. CO2 emissions drop in past five of eight years, EIA says

Emissions reductions in the electric power sector lead a decline in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in five of the past eight years, according to analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Total emissions from the electric power industry totaled 2,053 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2013, about 15 percent below 2005 levels. The power sector has become less carbon intensive for two reasons: the substitution of natural gas-fired generation for coal and petroleum generation, and the growth in non-carbon generation, especially from wind and solar. The growth in renewable energy has been largely driven by state policies and federal tax incentives, while other non-carbon sources such as hydroelectric and nuclear power have fluctuated from year to year, the report said. In 2005, hydroelectric and nuclear power totaled 1,049 billion kWh, or 95 percent of non-carbon generation. By 2013, they totaled 1,055 million kWh, or 83 percent of non-carbon generation.

U.S. electricity demand has also decreased in recent years, as declines in the industrial sector continue to outweigh slight increases in residential and commercial demand.

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