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Why This Matters: This is good news for air pollution in general as well as for climate change. We needed to put the breaks on continual increases in CO2 emissions — and this was a hard way to do it. But, but, but — methane emissions, an even more potent greenhouse gas, may not have declined at all during the pandemic. And as the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol put it, “Despite a record drop in global emissions this year, the world is far from doing enough to put them into decisive decline.” Yup.
What Is the Energy Use Trajectory?
As laid out in The Hill, in 2020, global energy demand will decline by 5% and energy investment will drop by 18%, according to the report because the use of oil, coal, and natural gas will all decline this year. In the long run, the IEA Report projects that oil demand will decline by 8%, coal by 7%, and natural gas by 3%. Interestingly, the Report anticipates that coal will never return to pre-COVID levels, but instead will remain 8% lower than in 2019 all the way through 2030. At the same time, the Report projects that oil demand will recover by 2023 and will continue to rise until 2030, and then it will plateau.
Visualizing CO2 Emissions in the US
Meanwhile, tools are being created to help federal, state and local regulators to cut CO2 emissions. In a study published last week in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Kevin Gurney of Northern Arizona State created visualizations that show the details of greenhouse gas emissions across the entire U.S. landscape at high space- and time-resolution with details on the economic sector, fuel, and combustion process. Gurney had previously developed and published emissions maps of several large cities, including the Los Angeles megacity, Indianapolis, the Washington, D.C./Baltimore metropolitan area and Salt Lake City. Then, as part of the Vulcan Project funded by NASA, he was able to quantify and visualize greenhouse gases emitted across the entire country down to individual power plants, neighborhoods and roadways. By drilling down to the sources of emissions, regulators at all levels can identify problem areas, thus enabling better decisions about where to cut emissions most effectively.
The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Limetree Bay refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands to close for at least 60 days because its operation is an “imminent risk to public health,” the agency said in a statement.
Why This Matters: The air pollution and oil that were being emitted at the plant have long caused harm to the people of St. Croix, a majority Black island.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Air pollution from animal farms leads to nearly 13,000 deaths annually, according to a new study that links food protection and air quality harms. The manure and animal feed from farms produce fine-particle pollution that leads to breathing issues as well as long-term health issues like heart disease and […]
The European Union is angling for climate neutrality by 2050, and in order to hit that target needs to ramp down its transportation emissions by about 90 percent. Trams — or what is known as light rail here in the U.S. — are having a moment as part of that planning.
Why This Matters: Lowering emissions doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel.
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