The ‘New Normal’ in America: Renewables Boom, Emissions Plunge and Consumers Save More Than Ever

After decades of technology development, business model innovation and policy progress, the U.S. economy is now decisively growing — independent of energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Since 2007, U.S. GDP has grown by 12 percent, while energy consumption has fallen by 3.6 percent, according to the new 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).

This year’s fifth edition report builds on last year’s Factbook findings that show the U.S. economy grew by 10 percent since 2007, while energy consumption fell by 2.4 percent. “In other words, energy productivity continues to improve as less and less energy is needed to fuel growth,” the authors wrote.

At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions are plummeting. Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions hit a 25-year low in 2016, down 12 percent from their peak in 2007 and 11.6 percent below 2005 levels. That puts the U.S. nearly halfway toward its Paris Agreement pledge to reduce national emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Reductions are even more notable within the power sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions fall by 5.3 percent in 2016 alone. The power sector’s carbon footprint has shrunk by 24 percent since 2005, thanks in large part to market forces that increased the availability of lower-carbon energy resources — namely the boom in domestic natural-gas production, a dramatic reduction in renewable energy prices, and expanded adoption of energy efficiency measures.

Read more (Greentech Media)