See? America did not need any stinking Kyoto agreement, we just needed for three areas to work in tandem to get greenhouse gas emissions back close to the magic number picked by the Germans and French a decade and a half ago.(1)

The Department of Energy released carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the energy sector  for Q1 of 2012 and they were the lowest since 1992. American energy is positively green again, just like people wanted. We can thank right-wing energy companies for that, because it has primarily happened due to natural gas.

What's the catch?  Activists have now turned their guns on natural gas too, blaming it for everything from headaches to breast cancer (summon the lich of science vampire Rachel Carson). Basically, energy companies can't win unless they require billions in subsidies from the government, i.e., they don't produce any energy. Like wind. And solar.

Source: Department of Energy EIA Monthly Energy Review

Obviously, the Obama administration gets some of the credit, so they should not let energy companies steal the glory for emissions reductions during an election year.  They can point to their fiscal policies and how that has reduced the need for people to drive to work, which reduced public demand for gasoline too.  With four more years, the economy and emissions could be back at 1988 levels. Global warming gets some credit also, spurred on by huge increases in Chinese emissions, because that has meant a milder winter so less energy was needed to heat homes.

Basically, it took a lot of different groups working together. Coal, meanwhile, may soon need subsidies of its own.  It is approaching 1983 levels of usage (and therefore employment) due to increased restrictions and therefore higher cost.  We may soon be outsourcing those coal-mining jobs to Australia.  They have 700 years of coal left.

H/T/ David Biello

(1) Why that 1990 target?  No one knows, but it sure looked strange, since that date meant the Germans basically had to close some Soviet-era factories in East Germany left over from World War II that they acquired and the French had just switched over to mostly nuclear power,