In China and India rapid growth in electricity demand mirrored rapid economic growth, while the most readily available source of indigenous fuel was coal. In the EU and U.S., slower demand growth and a gradual move away from coal to nuclear, gas, and renewable sources kept emissions from growing and led to recent declines. In all four countries, despite strong growth in renewable energy, its impact on carbon intensity was only beginning to be felt.

regionUnited States

These graphs show the changes in emissions, emissions drivers, and policy in the Power sector in the US


Emissions Emissions and generation

There was steady emissions and generation growth through the mid-2000s. Until recently, emissions grew in tandem with increasing electricity demand.


    Emissions Drivers Power sector variables and impact on average emissions factor

    The expansion and increased availability of nuclear in the 1980s and 1990s offset growing emissions from coal. In the 2000s, most factors were aligned to improve emissions intensity, including increasing renewables output and gas replacing coal.


      Policy Federal renewable energy incentives

      Both state and federal governments created policies to support renewable energy. The two most prominent of these were federal renewable energy tax incentives and state level renewable portfolio standards.