Related carbon emissions rose in United States in 2018, study shows

Mindy Sparks
January 10, 2019

The estimate was based on U.S. government energy statistics and other public and private data on oil consumption and power generation for the first eight to nine months of the year. The group said its figures are estimates because some 2018 data is not final.

The new research indicated that U.S. power sector emissions as a whole rose by 1.9%. and that the transportation sector "held its title as the largest source of USA emissions for the third year running", due to a growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offsetting a modest decline in gasoline use.

The past three years have also seen declines in emission rates - in fact, the jump reported in 2018 was only beaten by 2010, when the economy was starting to show recovery from the Great Recession.

Like the utility sector, those industries also saw their emissions increase in 2018. "The gap is even wider headed into 2019", the report says.

The latest emissions data comes as the world's scientists have called the global climate problem more urgent than previously thought - making the United States' emissions trends and its path to withdraw from the Paris agreement more consequential. They rose 3.6 percent that year.

New estimates on US carbon emissions in 2018 show there is a lot more work to be done if there is any hope in meeting Paris Agreement targets, especially as the Environmental Protection Agency continues to rollback climate-related policies.

The trend might come as a surprise to some, considering coal plants continue to shut down despite President Donald Trump's attempts to bring them back.

The EPA in a statement on December 28 said it is "providing regulatory certainty by transparently and accurately taking account of both costs and benefits".

But the EPA is rescinding Obama-era climate work, including regulations meant to speed a shift from coal.

The Interior Department then proposed to cut protections that benefited the sage grouse, a grassland bird that lives in the Great Plains and western states, which could allow for expanded oil and drilling. Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, on Tuesday in a statement said: "While Trump is trying to manufacture a crisis on the border to swindle the public into paying for his unpopular, destructive wall, the climate crisis is getting more risky before our eyes".

A record number of coal power plant closings wasn't enough to slow carbon emissions, according to the Rhodium Group's research. It said USA energy-related emissions of Carbon dioxide dropped 14% from 2005 to 2017.

But the largest emissions growth came from two sectors "often ignored in clean energy and climate policymaking: buildings and industry".

The findings also underscore how the world's second-largest emitter, once a global leader in pushing for climate action, has all but abandoned efforts to mitigate the effects of a warming world. "There's no question", Rob Jackson, a Stanford University professor who studies emissions trends, said of both USA and global efforts to steer the world toward a more sustainable future.

Michael Mehling, deputy director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Post: "It's not an isolated phenomenon". We need Congress, and elected officials at all levels, to back bold climate policy that creates millions of family sustaining jobs in a just transition off fossil fuels to a 100% renewable economy.

The Rhodium Group report states that, in order to meet the Paris Agreement targets by 2025, the U.S. President Trump has said the USA will no longer participate in the Paris accord, promising to withdraw from the plan in 2020.

"Natural gas not only replaced most of the lost coal generation but also fed the vast majority of the load growth past year", Rhodium reported. The EIA reports that natural gas fueled about 32% of the nation's electricity generation in 2017 (2018 data has not been compiled). "That's three times the decline in coal generation and four times the combined growth of wind and solar".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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