I was going to post this later, but since John and ED are arguing about C4C, now seems like a good time to bring it up:
Analysts at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore Labs have run the numbers on the US energy use in 2009, and come up with similar results to those obtained when examining the country’s carbon emissions: energy use is dropping at a pace that is faster than would be expected based on the slowing economy alone. Even better, the growth in renewable energy, coupled with increased use of natural gas, is displacing significant amounts of coal.[…]
According to the Livermore analysts, both economics and higher-efficiency appliances and vehicles helped push down the energy use last year, dropping consumption from 2008’s 99 Quads. Coal and petroleum use both declined significantly (coal was down by 10 percent), with more efficient vehicles accounting for much of the latter. Lowered electricity use accounted for much of coal’s drop, as did displacement by natural gas. But total natural gas use also dropped, at least in part because solar, hydro, and geothermal power all increased slightly, and wind power increased significantly. It’s now at 0.7 Quads, and on pace to clear a full Quad within the next couple of years.[emphasis mine]
C4C alone can’t be the reason for that decline, but it must have helped.