US Carbon Emissions Spiked in 2018, Even as Coal Plants Closed

The Democratic women of the House

The Guardian The Democratic women of the House

While the rising emissions are directly tied to a surging economy and particular to energy demands over the last several, Trevor Houser, a partner at Rhodium who worked on the study, told the Post that the increase would not have been as dramatic without the Trump administration's rollback of key Obama-era policies created to confront the climate crisis that the current White House falsely claims does not even exist.

According to the Guardian, the jump in 2018 "is the biggest since the bounce back from the recession in 2010".

Fuels consumed by the transport sector were for the third year in a row the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

Preliminary estimates show USA carbon emissions rose by 3.4 percent in 2018, the biggest increase in eight years.

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

The figures also show that the President's efforts to boost demand for coal have not succeeded yet, with electricity generated from this fossil fuel continuing to decline.

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

The authors of the research say the increase highlights the lack of strategy in the country's decarbozation efforts and that the existing gap in meeting the goal set in the Paris Agreement would become wider in 2019.

Elgie Holstein, Senior Director for Strategic Planning of the Environmental Defense Fund, tells Salon this report is a "sobering reminder" that, while scientists are warning the world to act quickly on climate change, the Trump administration is working trying to dismantle previously established safeguards.

Analysts estimate that energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions grew 3.4 percent from 2017 to 2018, which would be the largest increase in the United States since 2010.

The report estimates emissions from residential and commercial buildings increased by 10% past year, reaching "their highest level since 2004". Researchers of the report believe this is partly due to a colder winter in 2018 combined with population growth.

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

Holstein says local governments need to invest in green infrastructure to combat this. The agency contends that Donald Trump's agenda is driving energy innovation that could help cut emissions.

Part of last year's spike is also the result of economic growth, but new policies have exacerbated the effects of increased industry production.

"We expect it to overtake power as the second leading source of emissions in California by 2020 and to become the leading source of emissions in Texas by 2022", the report states.

Industrial growth and manufacturing was up, which led to the largest emissions gains in 2018 - 55 million metric tons.

Emissions were up for the first time since 2015.

In the United States this led to a 3% increase in diesel and jet fuel use a year ago, a similar rate of growth to that seen in the European Union in the same period. The difference could also significantly lower the likelihood that the Arctic Ocean is without sea ice in the summer. While Trump has ended US support for the United Nations -backed Paris climate agreement, the new figures show just how far the country is now from the original commitment it made when Obama backed the deal in the second term of his presidency.

In other words, an unprecedented pace for the U.S. "It is certainly feasible, but will likely require a fairly significant change in policy in the very near future and/or extremely favorable market and technological conditions".

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