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Toxic carbon dioxide emissions (that are an important contributor to global warming) increased by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of declines, according to a new report based on government statistics released today, demonstrating that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction on cleaning up air pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This increase reverses an overall trend of declining air pollution — since 2007 carbon dioxide emissions had decreased an average of 1.6% annually and more than 12% overall. Last year’s rise was the second largest increase since 1996, behind a 3.6% increase that took place in 2010, when emissions precipitously rose after a 7.2% decline in 2009 that was the result of the great recession.
Last year’s increases occurred despite the closing of many old, coal-fired power plants, because of dramatic increases in power, industrial and transportation emissions. According to the report:
US power sector emissions rose by 34 million metric tons in 2018, compared to a decline of 78 million metric tons in 2017 and a 61 million metric ton average annual decline between 2005 and 2016
U.S. transportation emissions grew by 1% in 2018, roughly the same as the 2017 growth rate
U.S. emissions from residential and commercial buildings (from sources such as fuel oil, diesel and natural gas combusted on site for heating and cooking) increased by 10% in 2018 to their highest level since 2004 … as compared to a colder winter than we had in 2017
The authors of the report concluded that in order to meet the our obligations under the Paris Agreement the U.S. would need to decrease emissions at 2.6% on average over the next seven years, which is twice the pace the US achieved between 2005 and 2017 and significantly faster than any similar time period before.
A recently-published study in Science Advances found that climate change predictions that relied only on historical data underestimated by about half the actual number of extremely hot days in Europe and East Asia, and the number of extremely wet days in the U.S., Europe, and East Asia. This paper illustrates how even small increases in global […]
Among the sea of online posts, hashtags like #ClimateStrikeOnline, and #FridaysForFuture continually pop up to show hundreds of videos and photos where people are coming together to protest in a new way.
Why This Matters: This new form of climate protest being taken on during the global pandemic is quickly becoming a part of our new reality due to a crisis caused by our unsustainable practices.