WASHINGTON — The U.S. Energy Department predicts carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. energy consumption should remain less than 2005 levels for the next 23 years.
The Energy Department''s Energy Information Administration, in its annual report, said energy-related carbon dioxide emissions grow slowly because of economic factors, improvements in energy efficiency and the increased use of low-carbon energy forms.
"Emissions remain below their 2005 level from 2010 to 2035, even in the absence of new federal policies designed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions," the EIA said in its reports.
The EIA found that the use of natural gas to produce electricity increases from 24% in 2010 to 28% in 2035. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, meanwhile, increase their share from 10% to 15% during the reporting period.
At the same time, the report states, electricity generation from coal declines from roughly 48% in 2008 to less than 38% during the coming decades.
The report states that, under its current assumptions, the United States starts relying less on imported oil and the country will eventually become a net exporter of natural gas.
The EIA cautioned, however, that some of its projections could be influenced by economic and regulatory factors.