Aug 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

EIA report: Carbon emissions expected to increase in 2021

Reproduced from EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

Coal consumption for electricity generation is expected to increase by 17% this year due to higher natural gas prices that are temporarily making coal more cost-competitive, according to the latest Short Term Energy Outlook released by the Energy Information Administration Tuesday.

Why it matters: Coal is the most carbon-intensive fuel, so any uptick in its use, even temporarily, can have a significant influence on carbon emissions.

The details: The EIA predicts a 7% increase in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2021, following a pandemic-related drop of 11% last year.

What they're saying: "Despite significant growth in energy-related CO2 emissions as the U.S. economy opens up, we don’t see these emissions returning to pre-pandemic levels, at least in the short term," EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley said in a press release.

Of note: The EIA also found that gasoline prices averaged $3.14 per gallon in July, which was the highest monthly average seen since October 2014. The EIA predicts that prices will come down in the next several months as oil production increases.

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