Talk about carbon emissions all you like, but growth in this hotly debated area has been slowing. Total carbon emissions grew only 1.4% over 2011 on a global scale. One of the largest reasons carbon emissions are slowing is because of the United States. Between 2011 and 2012, total carbon emission reductions from the U.S. were three times greater than all of Europe and Eurasia combined. Today, the U.S. emits the same amount of carbon as we did in 1994, and this downward tend could continue for the next couple of years.
More work can be done to reduce carbon emissions through better energy sources and increased efficiency, but we should give some credit to the reductions we have achieved thus far. Utilities switching from coal to natural gas reduce CO2 emissions per MW produced by about 50%, saving some money at the same time. Also, automotive manufacturers have found new ways to get more out of every drop of gasoline. In the past five years, Ford (NYSE: F ) has increased its entire vehicle fleet efficiency by 14%.
In some ways, the improvements we have made thus far are the low-hanging fruit, but there are several companies making the investments to spur the next big improvements in efficiency and carbon emission reductions. Tune in to the following video, where Fool.com contributor Tyler Crowe discusses some of these forward-looking companies.
It is becoming more and more apparent that carbon emissions is going to be a major factor in determining the fate of the energy space. As investors, though, we need to resist the temptations of committing our money to these new opportunities without doing our homework. Let us help you get started with that process by checking out one behind-the-scenes energy giant that has the potential to profit for years to come. To get the name of this company, check out the special free report: "The Only Energy Stock You'll Ever Need." Simply Click here to access your free report -- it's completely free!