Greenhouse gas emissions photo from Shutterstock

The United States Department of Energy just announced that carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption have fallen to their lowest level since 1994. Factors ranging from an increase in renewable energy sources to a decrease in coal consumption helped make 2012 one of the cleanest years since the early 1990s. The Energy Information Administration found that the United States’ carbon emissions fell 3.7 percent from 2011, and a whopping 12.1 percent since 2007.

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In 2012, the DOE’s Energy Information Administration branch determined that the United States produced 5.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – that’s still a lot, but it’s drastically less than in recent years. The main contributors to these emissions are dirty energy sources like coal, natural gas and oil.

The main cause for the decline in greenhouse gas emissions was the disuse of coal for electricity. An influx of solar arrays, wind farms and other renewable energy projects helped ease the transition, as well as the drop in price of natural gas.

Another factor is global warming. 2012 was the warmest winter on record in the United States, which led to a decrease in demand for coal or other heating agents, meaning fewer emissions.

Via Environmental News Network