Waning coal drops US energy-related carbon emissions to 18-year low

With coal-fired power plants being retired by the dozens energy-related carbon emissions in the US dropped to its lowest level since 1994, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The EIA puts energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 at  5.3 billion tonnes, a figure that has declined every year since 2007 (with the exception of 2010) as utilities switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation:

"The largest drop in emissions in 2012 came from coal, which is used almost exclusively for electricity generation says the EIA. During 2012, particularly in the spring and early summer, low natural gas prices led to competition between natural gas- and coal-fired electric power generators.

"Lower natural gas prices resulted in reduced levels of coal generation, and increased natural gas generation—a less carbon-intensive fuel for power generation, which shifted power generation from the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel (coal) to the least carbon-intensive fossil fuel (natural gas)."