U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose by a striking 3.4 percent in 2018, in the midst of an otherwise downward trend since 2005, a new analysis suggests. It’s likely the second-largest emissions jump since 1996, topped only by a 3.6 percent spike in 2010.
The findings were published Monday by the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm, largely drawing on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The uptick occurred during one of the biggest years for coal plant closures on record. This means declines in coal aren’t enough to keep pace with increasing demand for electricity—largely fed by natural gas over renewables last year, the report points out—and increasing emissions from other sources, including transportation and industry.
On a global scale, multiple reports in the last year have concluded that the world is not on track to meet its climate targets under the Paris Agreement—namely, keeping global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2 C at the very most, of their preindustrial levels.
A December report from the research consortium Global Carbon Project found emissions grew worldwide by about 2.7 percent to reach an all-time high in 2018, at a time when scientists warn they should be dramatically falling (Climatewire, Dec. 6, 2018).
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