US Carbon Emissions Soared in 2018

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Via the Washington Post, here’s our first estimate of the change in CO2 emissions in the United States in 2018:

This comes from the Rhodium Group, which adds the following comments:

  • “We estimate that energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 3.4% in 2018. That’s the second largest annual gain since 1996.”
  • “The largest emissions growth in 2018 occurred in the two sectors most often ignored in clean energy and climate policymaking: buildings and industry. We estimate that direct 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.”
  • “At the state and federal level few good strategies have been implemented to begin decoupling production from emissions. Our preliminary estimates suggest the industrial sector posted the largest emissions gains in 2018 at 55 million metric tons.”

Meeting the Paris Accord levels for CO2 emissions is all but impossible now, which is no surprise since Republicans in Congress won’t allow any policy changes to address climate change. And as we dither, the global concentration of CO2 continues to accelerate. The pre-industrial average was about 280 ppm and increased by only 40 ppm in the thousand years before 1958. Then, over the past 60 years, it increased by 95 ppm. In 2018 alone it increased by 3.43 ppm through November, which is a record since measurements began. And still we dither.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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