2009 carbon dioxide emissions fell 6 per cent from 2008 levels, according to the EPA. In turn 2008 totals fell from 2007 levels, making it 2 years of falling emissions. EPA said the 2009 economic decline PLUS a shift from coal to cleaner natural gas were the major causes of the 2009 decrease.
The 2009 carbon dioxide emissions fell back to 1995 levels. Moreover methane emissions (a potent heat trapping gas) are now 5% below 1990 levels.
Discounting these 2009 numbers as a product of a near depression is tempting. But see earlier post "Carbon Hope?" for reasons to be more hopeful.
Economic growth resumed by the third quarter of 2009. America will have had 7 straight quarters of economic growth by April 1st this year. More is at work than the 2008 near Depression reducing demand and energy consumption.
Zero carbon and low carbon fuels are gaining market share. Natural gas is displacing coal. 40,000 megawatts of wind generation is now operating. Energy efficiency is increasing across the economy.
Yet what is sobering is how the atmospheric concentration of heat trapping gas marches on toward 450 ppm and even 500 ppm. But for this day let's be hopeful.