According to a new report from the Rhodium Group, greenhouse gas emissions in the US have increased by 6.2 percent in the past year from 2020 levels. from Paris. Under the agreement, the US has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030, below 2005 levels. Last year, it was 17.4 percent below that benchmark. That is a step back from the 22.2 percent reduction that the country had achieved a year earlier.
Behind the increase in total emissions were corresponding jumps in the pollution caused by the country’s transport and energy sectors. Compared to 2021, those sectors generated another 10 percent and 6.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The driving force behind those increases was a 17 percent increase in reliance on coal-generated power and more people driving after a pandemic-related downturn.
The report underlines how important it is for the US to clean up its power grid and transportation sector. Another recent study found that wind and solar can cover 85 percent of the country’s current electricity needs. Whether the US fulfills its obligations under the Paris Agreement will depend in large part on whether the country can mobilize investment as part of policies such as President Biden’s Build Back Better Plan. The fate of the bill is uncertain, but it is clear that the technology is there to facilitate a clean transition. Natural gas had never been more affordable until recently, and yet it was more expensive than renewables.
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