Page E1.1 . 05 December 2012   
ArchitectureWeek - Environment Department
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What's Up with U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

by Kevin Matthews

A person — or a public figure, member of the media, maybe even an international climate negotiator — could be confused.

In August, 2012, the Associated Press reported:

AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

"PITTSBURGH (AP) — In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal."

The Washington Post picked up the AP story, and added a bit to it:

AP IMPACT: CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low; some experts optimistic on global warming

Since August, the mythical meme of shrinking U.S. greenhouse gas emissions has been picked up and carried forward even by respected sources like Climate Central:

Can U.S. Carbon Emissions Keep Falling?

And as recently as November 26, for instance, a climate story in the Guardian said:

Doha 2012: US Claims 'Enormous' Efforts to Cut Carbon Emissions

"Greenhouse gas emissions from the US have fallen sharply in
recent years, owing to the replacement of coal-fired power
generation by gas in the US, following its widespread adoption
of shale gas."

In the same Guardian story, U.S. senior climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing is quoted saying, "Those who don't know what the US is doing may not be informed of the scale and extent of the effort, but it's enormous."

You'd think that there was solid information that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have dropped.

But the real story is somewhat different.   >>>

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ArchWeek Image

Energy-efficient buildings like the Federal Center South Building 1202, located on a brownfield site in Seattle, designed by ZGF Architects for the Army Corps of Engineers, can play a key part in a comprehensive, fact-based approach to reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Photo: Benjamin Benschneider/ Courtesy ZGF Architects Extra Large Image

ArchWeek Image

The skylit atrium of the Federal Center South Building 1202 is part of the building's air circulation system.
Photo: PR Newswire/ Courtesy ZGF Architects Extra Large Image


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