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US energy-related CO2 emissions are forecast to remain stable through 2050

12 Feb 2020

According to the Annual Energy Outlook 2020 released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to remain broadly stable between 2019 and 2050. CO2 emissions should decrease until 2031 before recovering until 2050, when they should average 4.9 Gt, i.e. slightly below their 2019 level (around 5.1 Gt).

CO2 emissions from the power generation sector will fall until 2025 due to massive retirements of coal-fired power generation capacities and significant additions of renewable power capacities; after 2025, power generation-related emissions will remain stable at around 1.3 Gt/year, as the economically-viable coal-fired power plants will remain operational. Emissions from the transport sector, which have overtaken those from the power sector in recent years, are expected to decline until the late 2020s, as rising fuel efficiency will more than offset the increase in travel and freight movements. Increasing activity in the industrial sector is expected to boost oil and gas consumption in industry and will raise this sector's emissions by over 30% to around 1.3 Gt, on par with the power sector.

CO2 emissions under the High Economic Growth case could be 13% higher than in the Reference case by 2050 (and 9% higher than 2019 levels), whereas they could be 11% lower than in the Reference case and 15% lower than 2019 levels in the Low Economic Growth case.

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