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Sunday December 17, 2017

Climate Change: U.S. output of so-called greenhouse gases continues to decline, a new report shows. Even so, global warming activists are likely to be disappointed. The drop has nothing to do with their pet cause, alternative energy.

That's right. The Environmental Protection Agency's yearly greenhouse gas emissions report noted that after rising slightly in 2013 and 2014, greenhouse gas output fell in 2015 — the most recent full year for which data are available.

OK, but maybe it was a one-year fluke? Hardly.

First off, the drop was significant in size — 2.2% on an annual basis, far too big to be a fluke or statistical anomaly.

Second, as the folks at The American Interest helpfully point out, "U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions hit a 25-year low over the first six months of 2016, continuing the progress that the EPA says we made in 2015."

So it's continuing. More important, The Hill reminds, "The EPA attributed the overall decline to lower carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, which itself came about because of less coal consumption in favor of natural gas, warmer winter weather that decreased heating fuel demand and lower electricity demand overall."

This continues a long-term trend for the U.S. of lower greenhouse gas emissions. Ironically, while the U.S. was pilloried for not ratifying the Tokyo Accord (though then-Vice President Al Gore ostentatiously signed it, despite knowing that the Senate wouldn't ratify it) to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, it is the only major industrial nation actually slashing its output.

Since the Kyoto Accord was struck in 1997, Energy Department data show, U.S. output of greenhouse gases plunged 7.3%, even though real U.S. GDP over that time has grown a whopping 52%. We're greener today than we have been in decades.

Go figure.

For all this progress, we can thank the fracking business, which has given U.S. industry and homes access to massive amounts of cheap, relatively clean natural gas. It may yet make possible a U.S. industrial renaissance — and bring back jobs now done overseas, not by government trade protectionism but by pursuing free-market energy policies that will lead to ever more energy at lower prices.

Global warming crusader Al Gore won a Nobel Prize merely for his profit-making activities as a green activist. Here's an idea: If the Nobel committee geniuses really want to reward those who've done the most to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they should give Gore's Nobel to the U.S. fracking industry.

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