U.S. greenhouse emissions fell in 2017 as coal plants shut

The drop was steeper than in 2016 when emissions fell 2 percent.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Greenhouse gases emissions from the largest U.S. industrial plants fell 2.7 percent in 2017, the Trump administration said, as coal plants shut and as that industry competes with cheap natural gas and solar and wind power that emit less pollution.

The drop was steeper than in 2016 when emissions fell 2 percent, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said.

EPA acting administrator Andrew Wheeler said the data proves that federal regulations are not necessary to drive carbon dioxide reductions.

“Thanks to President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, the economy is booming, energy production is surging, and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources,” Wheeler said in a release.

While Wheeler gave the administration credit for the reductions, which mainly came from the power sector, the numbers also underscore that the administration has not been able to stop the rapid pace of coal plant shutdowns.

Voters in states that produce and burn coal form a large part of President Donald Trump’s base, but the administration has not been able to forge a path for subsidizing aging coal and nuclear plants, despite industrial players urging the administration to act. Read full article.