US Carbon Emission Trends

David Lawrence, a Yale-educated PhD geologist, held executive roles at energy giant Shell for many years. Following his tenure at Shell, David Lawrence founded Lawrence Energy Group, an energy consulting firm that rigorously evaluates the energy transition and analyses carbon reduction trends and strategies.

Between 2005 and 2017, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from energy consumption in the US declined by 758 million metric tons, a reduction of about 14 percent. In 2016, US carbon emissions were the lowest in 24 years. This decrease is attributed in large part to the shift of generating electricity with fuels derived from natural gas that are less carbon-intensive alternatives to petroleum and coal.

This trend may plateau in the next several years. US carbon emissions are projected to rise by just under 2 percent in 2018 and to remain steady for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the level of emissions estimated for 2019 will be 13 percent lower than those recorded in 2005. Notably, carbon emissions in the US continued to decline even during periods of slight economic growth over this period, in large part because of the increased role of natural gas as well as the significant rise of wind energy and solar in the electricity sector.

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Bipartisan Tax Credit Extended for Carbon Capture

 

Carbon Capture pic

Carbon Capture
Image: thehill.com

A former executive with Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Upstream Americas, with responsibilities including Exploration, New Business Development, Gas Monetization and Shell Wind Energy, David Lawrence formed Lawrence Energy Group, an energy investment and consulting company. As CEO and chairman of the firm, David Lawrence focuses on addressing increasing energy needs while mitigating the impact of climate change.

One technology-driven approach to curbing climate change involves carbon capture and the concept of the “smokeless stack.” A recent Quartz article drew attention to the success of a bipartisan group of senators in securing a 45Q tax credit extension designated for companies investing in carbon capture technology. The technology, which involves scrubbing devices installed at chemical industries and power plants, removes the carbon dioxide from plant emissions, allowing the gas to be compressed and safely sequestered underground.

Approved within a larger spending bill that ensured continued funding by the US government, the tax credits act the same way in which wind and solar power credits have for decades: by incentivizing the use of carbon capture technologies. The plants that put the captured C02 to use in applications such as pushing out oil within depleted fields receive a $30 per metric ton credit; alternately, burying the CO2 in storage underground generates a $50 credit.

With the investment generated by 45Q as an impetus, the same bipartisan group has now introduced the USE IT (Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technology) Act. The bill seeks to fund research into carbon capture, storage, and use, as well as a private sector competition for developing innovative solutions.

China’s Oil Futures Market Opens Strong

 

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Newsletter

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies pic

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Image: environment.yale.edu

Former Shell executive David Lawrence attended Yale University, where he earned a PhD in geology and geophysics. After more than a decade with Shell, he now serves as the CEO and chairman of the Lawrence Energy Group, an energy consultancy firm. Along with his professional responsibilities, David Lawrence conducts seminars and lectures for organizations such as the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Founded in 1900, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies focuses on providing research studies on the global environment as well as regional and local environmental issues. The school encourages a deeper understanding of how humans affect the global climate and steps they can take to help maintain a better ecosystem.

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies publishes a research newsletter to keep students apprised of relevant topics such as holistic ecosystem management and the effect of Lyme disease on human behavior. Readers can choose to subscribe to the newsletter weekly or monthly, or simply visit the newsletter’s website at environment.yale.edu/news/category/research.