U.S. Carbon Emissions Soared in 2018. Here's Why

Rhino in the dust

The data shows the U.S. is unlikely to meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement.

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. To put this data into perspective, this increase represents the second-largest annual gain in two decades.

Natural gas emits less greenhouse gas than coal, but has fueled most of last year's rise in electricity demand, beating solar and wind.

It's worth noting that Carbon dioxide emissions are still down 11-percent from 2005 levels. A cold winter was also a factor, particularly because it led to higher consumption of natural gas and fuel oil in homes for heat.

"That's more than twice the pace the U.S. achieved between 2005 and 2017 and significantly faster than any seven-year average in USA history", the report states. "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", researchers concluded.

There are a number of factors behind the rise in United States emissions in 2018, some natural, mostly economic.

However economic activity is the key reason for the overall rise in Carbon dioxide emissions. For example, at a 1.5°C rise, global sea level rise could be 10 centimeters lower by the year 2100, compared with a predicted sea level at 2°C.

A new analysis shows USA greenhouse gas levels are increasing as the Trump administration unravels efforts to slow climate change.

Coal plants are shutting down, but electricity demand is growing.

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'The US was already off track in meeting its Paris Agreement targets.

The latest emissions data indicate that this is unlikely to happen. Emissions rose 3.4 per cent in 2018, the largest increase in the United States since 2010.

The increase was also driven by greater demand for diesel and aviation fuel as Americans flew more and shipped more goods by trucks, and by a bigger need for heating oil during a cold winter a year ago. Trump also campaigned on a promise to restore the coal industry.

As a part of undoing what he called a "war on coal", in 2017, Mr Trump rescinded the Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions to meet USA commitments under the Paris accord. President Trump has said he plans to officially withdraw the nation from the Paris climate agreement in 2020 and in the meantime has rolled back Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing the country's carbon emissions.

Under Mr Trump's administration, the federal government has also opened up once-protected lands for oil and gas drilling across the U.S. and has proposed ending regulations on fuel standards for cars and trucks after 2021.

Mike Sommers, the head of API, told reporters in a conference call that the United States can boost oil and gas and cut emissions at the same time.

According to a preliminary estimate, after three years of declining emissions, US CO2 emissions rose sharply in 2018.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Transportation remains the top contributor to US CO2 emissions What contributed the most?

Carbon dioxide emissions spiked last year in the U.S. after three years of decline, according to a study. While this appears to be good news, power sector emissions overall increased by 1.9 percent, according to the estimates. In the buildings sector, the reports states emissions come from commercial and residential buildings, a result of fuel oil and natural gas from cooking and heating.


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