For all the pearl clutching that swept over vast swaths of the Left after the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accords, President Trump continued the Obama and Bush administrations' success in decreasing domestic greenhouse gas emissions in his first year in office.
Advocates of increased environmental regulations may find it odd that directly measured greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.7 percent from 2016 to 2017, and are down 12.2 percent since this type of reporting in was first done in 2011.
Trump entered office advocating for the expansion of the coal and the natural gas industry, and he has even tried to prop up big coal using emergency executive powers. But natural gas has relentlessly continued to replace coal as the electricity-generating fuel of choice thanks to its abundant supply and resulting low price. The combustion of natural gas produces just half of the carbon dioxide of coal.
The shale boom made possible by fracking has become a progressive bogeyman of sorts. Liberals will correctly point out that methane released from fracking is far more potent than carbon dioxide in fueling climate change. But as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports, nearly two-thirds of reductions in energy-related CO2 emissions in the past decade can be attributed to fracking. Through technological developments, total greenhouse gas emissions from fracking have plummeted.
Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that fracking "has increased and diversified the gas supply and allowed for a more extensive switching of power and heat production from coal to gas; this is an important reason for a reduction of GHG emissions in the United States.”
For what it's worth, even as fracking has expanded in the past decade, methane emissions have plummeted. The result is that the U.S., which has repudiated the Paris treaty, avoided the Kyoto Protocol, and refused to impose any sort of national caps on carbon emissions, has been more successfully in reducing its emissions than any of the nations that have embraced such economically damaging measures.
In short, fracking has done more to reduce greenhouse emissions than any environmentalist or environmental policy in modern history.