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Analysis Shows U.S. Energy Carbon Emissions Spiked in 2018

Do you support policies that would constrain greenhouse gas emissions?

by Axios | 1.8.19

new Rhodium Group analysis shows that U.S. carbon emissions from energy — which is the overwhelming cause of emissions — jumped by 3.4% last year, ending years of declines.

The big picture: The news comes after the EU-funded Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) concluded that 2018 was Earth's 4th-warmest on record, with the past 4 years serving as the planet's hottest seen since instrument records began in 1880 (and likely well before that).

  • "This marks the second largest annual gain in more than two decades — surpassed only by 2010 when the economy bounced back from the Great Recession," Rhodium said of the preliminary data.
  • U.S. emissions have been generally declining for a decade, but last year's jump comes after the pace of emissions cuts has been decelerating.

Why it matters: Rhodium's study shows that the U.S. is falling farther off the pace from its pledge to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 26%–28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

  • To hit that target, energy-related CO2 emissions would need to fall by an average of 2.6% annually by then, and even more if declines in other GHGs slow, according to Rhodium.
  • That would be more than twice the pace of cuts between 2005 and 2017, and "significantly faster than any seven-year average in US history," they say.

Details: Rhodium's study found that 2018 U.S. CO2 emissions were up in all major sectors: electricity, transportation, buildings and industry.

  • Power generation from coal — the most carbon-emitting fuel — fell again last year, but overall power demand rose and was met largely with gas, despite renewables' growth.
  • When it comes to transportation — now the biggest emissions source — gasoline demand dipped very slightly, but that was vastly outweighed by increases from trucking and aviation.
  • Buildings and industry had the biggest increases, with emissions from each sector rising by about 55 million metric tons. Some of the building emissions increase stems from a cold winter.
  • But more broadly, Rhodium notes that modest improvements in the efficiency of furnaces aren't offsetting the effect of population growth and increasing demand for building energy.

The big picture: Axios' Andrew Freedman notes that last year had a global average surface temperature that was 0.2°C colder than 2016, which was the warmest year in Copernicus' dataset, but more than 0.4°C above the 1981–2010 average. Scientists at C3S also find...

  • The average temperature of the last 5 years was 1.1°C, or 1.98°F, higher than the pre-industrial average.
  • This is significant since temperatures are edging closer to the 1.5°C aspirational warming target.

Go deeper: Key global warming target slipping out of reach, UN scientists warn

Ben Geman

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Axios

Written by Axios

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(66)
  • Robert
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Every other country on the planet except the US recognizes the danger from climate change. But not right wingers and climate deniers. Trump announces we are getting out of the Paris agreement. Millions of jobs can be created here by investing in solar and wind energy but are stalled because we worship coal and fossil fuel industries. The time is now, the method is renewable energy.

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  • JTJ
    Voted Oppose
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Leftists don’t give a crap about the climate. They just want another excuse to raise taxes and push their socialist agenda.

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  • ConservativeGuy
    01/08/2019
    ···

    I pulled up Nancy Pelosi’s house on Google Maps. I didn’t see any solar panels.

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  • IllWill
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Right wingers are delusional if they think that climate change is a hoax. All the evidence is right in front of us. The only question is how are we going to mitigate and ultimately reverse it. We need to expand renewable energy dramatically. We also need a carbon tax now!

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  • Riley
    Voted Oppose
    01/08/2019
    ···

    I like having a job and booming economy. We are one of the cleanest developed nations. In China it's so polluted people have to wear breathing masks in some places. There is no point in the US cutting emissions more until China and other countries do. No new taxes or regulations!

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  • ConservativeGuy
    01/08/2019
    ···

    I have an electric car and solar panels. What are liberals doing? I said “doing”, not saying.

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  • burrkitty
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    THERE IS NO SECOND EARTH.

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  • Jerrey
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    The science is incontestable! The current administration is blindly leading the US and the world on a path to horrendous consequences. I fear for my grandchildren and their grandchildren!

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  • Sandra
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    We have got to stop polluting our air, polluting our water, fracturing the earth, over fishing our seas, killing our honey bees...in short, killing our home.

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  • Miles
    Voted Oppose
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Climate change policies are just disguises to take money away from people who have it to give it to people who don’t want to work for it. The radical Dems said for climate change “we will tax the people to give the money back to the people” wow genius plan. Absolutely genius. Make your own money you shameful, weak, leftist.

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  • Mike
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    This is what happens when Trump installs big oil and mining lobbyists at the EPA and they roll back existing environmental protections that would have reduced carbon emissions. This all happened while the media and congress was fixated on his tweets. He MUST be held accountable.

    Like (6)
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  • Tooluser1
    Voted Oppose
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Carbon dioxide is NOT a toxic pollutant. You are *exhaling* it as you read this. And every plant is your vicinity is eagerly and gratefully *inhaling* it. Now go apologize to those plants for this stupidity.

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  • Dave
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    U.S. carbon emissions from energy — which is the overwhelming cause of emissions coal, cars, smoke stack, Basically fossil fuel— jumped by 3.4% last year, ending years of declines. YOU THINK? The only Nations Emergency this country has is getting Trump and Family out of the White House. 4000 people stop at the port of entry not Arrested, you no where and what port of entry is, it is in other counties ports like airports, shipping and trunking. Not the southern Border 3000 Asylum-seekers we’re stopped at the border.

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  • Tinee
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    This is what happens when real world versions of Captain Planet villains are put in charge. The longer this is allowed, the worse things are going to get.

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  • ChaseTurner
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    Resolved in favor of a first class Federally managed research and design program to deliver a non-fossil fuels energy future by 2040 — without kowtowing to entrenched fossil fuel market players.

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  • Ken
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    There are 1100 satellites orbiting out planet . Some of these are constantly monitoring conditions, especially in the Artic where changes are most rapidly changing. Satellites don't lie. They just relay information we need to calculate sea rises and temperatures. Although we have overwhelming evidence that we need to curb c02 emmissions to maintain a liveable planet Trump's closed minded politically motivated denial still rules in mich of the republican party. Trump can say or do no wrong. What the real truth is that Trump is a manipulator. All you Trump supporters are being played and it makes you look very ignorant. But oh well. Trump's your man.

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  • TheModerateGuy
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    I’m from China. When I visit my old home and look out the window, I see grey-ness. Not of buildings but of smog. I’m a Detroiter. I can barely see the “pristine” lakes I used to fish at. Do you want that America?

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  • Chickie
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    We do not own the earth; we are merely custodians. We must accept the responsibilities to ensure our country is doing everything possible to slow Global Warming. In the two years since #45’s administration has taken office, a number of important and landmark laws striding for a cleaner world was erased by the pen of an Executive Order. Big corporations are no longer required to dispose of hazardous waste properly. The oxymoron of clean coal is as obvious as the Bozo-in-Chief’s tan in a can. This administration has more or less placed the brakes on endorsing clean energy practices. The WH administration is now a mirror of the VP, bobble-headed yes persons with no one having the backbone to say “enough”!

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  • KansasTamale
    Voted Support
    01/08/2019
    ···

    We have to do something about Trump rolling back all the environmental regulations. That is part & parcel the MAIN PROBLEM. THEN EVEN STRICTER REGULATIONS WITH PEOPLE HIRED TO CHECK & FOLLOW UP.

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  • Curt
    Voted Oppose
    01/08/2019
    ···

    It's all a lie! Don't believe any of these reports.

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