U.S. sees spike in carbon emissions in 2018

Emissions rise despite support for more renewable energy

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The Rhodium Group, who published the study on Tuesday, explained that the increase comes after three consecutive years of declining emissions in the United States.

After three years of decline, climate-change-causing carbon emissions rose sharply in the United States last year, according to new research.

New estimates on USA 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.

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

Houser said affordable technology exists to grow the economy while reducing emissions, "but that requires policy to deploy those technologies in the market".

Still, carbon dioxide emissions are down 11 percent since 2005. They've been bouncing up and down since then.

At the same time, emissions from the transportation sector rose 1 percent thanks to more airline travel and greater on-road shipping. The API backs voluntary efforts to reduce emissions.

"While a record number of coal-fired power plants were retired past year, natural gas not only beat out renewables to replace most of this lost generation but also fed most of the growth in electricity demand", the report reads.

The jump in emissions came a year after President Donald Trump announced he would withdraw the USA from the Paris climate agreement in 2020 and as he rolled back Obama-era regulations aimed at cutting the nation's greenhouse gases.

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The latest growth makes it increasingly unlikely that the United States will achieve a pledge made by the Obama administration in the run-up to the Paris climate agreement, that the country would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.

There's still time to catch up, Light says.

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

Stock markets have faltered in recent months, indicating the USA might be headed toward another recession. But the rate of decline slowed significantly in recent years, as the economy rebounded.

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"We estimate that direct emissions from residential and commercial buildings (from sources such as fuel oil, diesel and natural gas combusted onsite for heating and cooking) increased by 10 percent in 2018 to their highest level since 2004", the researchers state.

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And without significant changes, industrial emissions will become bigger contributors to US CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions. Factories are using less electricity. Industries are moving more goods by trucks powered by diesel, while consumers are travelling more by air. And that's exactly what happened after the financial crisis of 2008. "All this economic activity produces carbon dioxide, and money for somebody".

In announcing new standards for the transportation sector a year ago, Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, along with Andrew Wheeler, the acting administrator of the EPA, wrote that the Obama-era standards would "impose significant costs on American consumers and eliminate jobs".

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The spike is the largest in eight years, according to Rhodium Group, an independent economic research firm.

The reported estimate is "based on preliminary power generation, natural gas and oil consumption data". He says carbon dioxide emissions are up roughly 3.4 percent over previous year. A substantial increase in the demand for electricity a year ago also was met by natural gas.

BRUMFIEL: That come with a booming economy.

Scott said, "Whether in transportation or in heating buildings, biodiesel is a cleaner option that can make a substantial difference today".

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

Houser, speaking specifically about the power sector, said, "I don't think you would have seen the same increase".

This could signal a worrying trend after a long period of declining Carbon dioxide emissions, albeit one aided by the slowdown of the economy after the Great Recession.

Holstein says local governments need to invest in green infrastructure to combat this.

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