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AEO2014 Early Release Overview

Release Date: December 16, 2013   |  Full Report Release Date: Early Spring 2014   |  correction   |   Report Number: DOE/EIA-0383ER(2014)

Energy-Related CO2 Emissions

In the AEO2014 Reference case, total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in 2040 equal 5,599 million metric tons, 92 million metric tons (1.6%) lower than in AEO2013. However, the carbon intensity of the economy in 2040 is slightly (0.6%) higher in AEO2014 as compared with AEO2013. Projected energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020 and 2040 are, respectively, about 9% and 7% below the 2005 level, compared to 9% and 5% below the 2005 level in AEO2013.

The lower GDP projection in AEO2014 is partly the result of a lower population growth rate, and GDP per capita in 2040 is almost 4% higher in AEO2014 than in AEO2013. Energy use per capita and energy-related CO2 emissions per capita are higher in AEO2014 than in AEO2013 (about 5% in 2040). Also, higher levels of energy consumption and CO2 emissions per dollar of GDP in AEO2014 occur with a sectoral shift in the share of energy consumption from the residential, commercial, and transportation sectors toward the industrial sector, which generally is more energy- and carbon-intensive than other sectors of the economy. Over the projection period from 2012 to 2040, industrial emissions grow at an average annual rate of 0.6% in AEO2014, and industrial energy-related CO2 emissions in 2040 are 133 million metric tons higher in AEO2014 than in AEO2013.

When examining the electric power sector, excluding combined heat and power, there are offsetting factors in comparing AEO2014 and AEO2013. Coal use for generation is 7.9% lower in 2040 (141 billion kWh) in AEO2014 compared to AEO2013 as a result of increased retirements of coal capacity and replacement with natural gas and renewables. However, nuclear generation, which has no CO2 emissions, is also 10.1% (91 billion kWh) lower in 2040 in AEO2014 compared to AEO2013 because of more nuclear retirements in AEO2014. This offsets the CO2 reduction achieved by switching from coal to natural gas and renewables. In total, the carbon intensity of the electric power sector is lower in AEO2014 as generation declines by 0.2% (9 billion kWh), but emissions are 1.9% lower in 2040.