Shale Boom Helps to Lower Carbon Dioxide Emissions

The International Energy Agency says the shale gas boom in the U.S. has led to a domestic decline in carbon dioxide emissions as generators use more low-price natural gas over coal, the Financial Times reports.

Greenhouse gas emissions, says the IEA, have dropped off nearly 5 million tons in five years, which is more than any other country the agency examined.

The power industry has changed gears and seen a "major shift," from using coal as a power source to using natural gas, and the transportation industry has become more fuel efficient, said Fatih Birol, chief economist for the international agency.

This means the explosion in U.S. shale gas production has caused a seismic change to the energy industry, cutting the price of natural gas to its lowest point in a decade.

According to the publication, coal use dropped off 19 percent and gas use jumped 38 percent — a relevant figure because plants that run on gas produce half the carbon dioxide that a plant that runs on coal does.