Oil Report

US 2009 carbon emissions to fall 6.1 pct -EIA

* Recession cuts power demand

* Coal use down nearly 12 pct

* 2010 carbon emissions forecast to rise slightly

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide will fall about 6.1 percent in 2009 as the country burns less coal, the government’s top energy forecaster said in its short-term outlook on Tuesday.

The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas will release 5.45 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2009, the Energy Information Administration said in its monthly forecast.

The 2009 6.1 percent figure was a steeper drop than the EIA had predicted in November when it said emissions would fall 5.6 percent in 2009 from the year earlier.

Coal consumption by electricity generators fell nearly 12 percent for the first nine months of 2009, as the recession cut power demand and amid increases in generation from sources that emit less of the gas such as natural gas, hydropower and wind power, the EIA said.

“An expected continuation of these trends for the rest of the year leads to an annual decline in electric-power-sector coal consumption of almost 10 percent,” EIA said.

The United States is the world’s second-leading emitter, after China, of greenhouse gases scientists blame for warming the planet. [ID:nCLIMATE]

In 2010 U.S. carbon emissions will start to rise slightly as the economy recovers to 5.53 billion tonnes, the EIA said.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lisa Shumaker