US emissions picture mixed

Based on preliminary power generation, natural gas and oil consumption data, Rhodium Group has estimated that US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 3.4 per cent in 2018.

Marking the second largest annual gain in more than two decades, the figures the transportation sector was the largest source of US emissions for the third year running, as growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offset a modest decline in petrol consumption.

Surprisingly, given that a record number of coal-fired power plants were retired last year, the use of natural gas to replace most of this lost generation and growth in electricity demand conspired to make power generation emissions jump of 1.9 per cent.

The buildings and industrial sectors also both posted big year-on-year emissions gains. Some of this was due to unusually cold weather at the start of the year. But it also highlights the limited progress made in developing decarbonisation strategies for these sectors.

To meet the Paris Agreement target of a 26-28 per cent reduction from 2005 levels by 2025, the US will need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 2.6 per cent on average over the next seven years. To achieve this, the US will need to adopt significant government policies or find major technological breakthroughs.

Full research here.

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