Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the United States since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons of CO2. With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007.
The gap in natural gas prices has opened quickly, leaving companies that make investment decisions years in advance scrambling to catch up. As recently as 2007, U.S. natural gas prices were only about 20 percent lower than Europe's, not enough to fundamentally reshape markets.
Expressing surprise at the enormous increase in U.S. production of oil and natural gas by unconventional means, Thomas Helbling, a division chief in the IMF's (International Monetary Fund) Research Department, was forced to admit that it was free enterprise that was responsible for it after all.
Some of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies have made peace with environmentalists, agreeing to a voluntary set of tough new standards for fracking in the Northeast that could lead to a major expansion of drilling.