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US Energy Usage Up, Carbon Emissions Down

FILE - Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Montana.

A study indicates the U.S. used more energy but produced fewer carbon emissions in 2014 compared to 2010.

The analysis, recently released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the U.S. Department of Energy, indicates that use of wind and natural gas as energy sources account for part of the improvement.

The emissions reductions measured in the study are the result of wind and solar energy development, and a greater acceptance of natural gas for electricity generation and industrial applications.

The low price of natural gas has encouraged many power producers to increasingly rely in it instead of coal for electricity. Natural gas releases half or less the amount of carbon dioxide of coal when used to produce electricity.

The study finds that between 2010 and 2014, the energy produced using coal declined and the energy produced using natural gas increased.

The use of petroleum-based energy, mostly for transportation and industry, also declined between 2010 and 2014.