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The US reduced its carbon footprint more than any other nation, new report shows

The U.S. reduced its carbon footprint more than any other nation in 2017, despite fears about what Trump administration energy policies might result in. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The United States is leading the world in reducing its carbon footprint, as its carbon dioxide emissions decreased more than any other nation in 2017, according to a recent report by BP Global.

Although CO2 emissions rose worldwide by 1.6 percent, the U.S. cut its emissions by 0.5 percent, dropping its energy use emissions to the lowest number since 1992.

Free market efficiency

The numbers indicate that the free market could be much more effective in reducing emissions than heavy regulations. From Real Clear Energy:

In fact, the U.S. has slashed CO2 emissions much faster than our European allies that adopted the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions in 1997. Preferring markets over incessant regulation, non-signatory U.S. has been reducing emissions faster than any other nation on Earth. All the while, our economy has boomed nearly 60 percent to $18 trillion (real 2010 $).

Investor's Business Daily explained that efficiency is the key to reducing emissions, and capitalism pushes toward and rewards maximum efficiency:

Because capitalism, unlike socialism and its welfare-state kin, hates waste. So it does all it can to be efficient. That means using as little energy as possible to make things. And this predates any of the current CO2 hysteria.

In the U.S., the data are clear and utterly convincing: In 1949, it took 1,098 metric tons of CO2 emissions to produce $1 million in the U.S., after adjusting for inflation. Today, it takes just 301 metric tons to produce that same million dollars, after inflation — a 73 percent gain in carbon efficiency.

The increased use of natural gas, which produces significantly less CO2 than oil or coal, has also contributed to the U.S. decline in emissions.

Contrast with the rest of the world

Since 2005, the U.S.'s energy-related CO2 emissions dropped 861 million metric tons, or 14 percent. In contrast, global emissions rose by 21 percent over the same time period.

In 2017, European emissions rose 2.5 percent, China's rose 1.6 percent, and India's rose 4.4 percent. The increase in Asia can be attributed to swift economic growth in China and India, powered by large amounts of coal energy output.

Future outlook

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that U.S. CO2 emissions will increase in 2018 before leveling out in 2019 overall.

The EIA expects coal emissions to increase by 0.6 percent in 2018 and 2019, oil emissions to increase by 1.6 percent in 2018 before declining 0.2 percent in 2019, and natural gas emissions to increase by 0.6 percent in 2018 and flatline in 2019.

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