U.S. Carbon Emissions Spiked 3.4% in 2018, Second-Largest Increase Since 1996
Carbon emissions in the U.S. experienced a sharp upswing in 2018, despite a record number of coal-fired power plant closings, according to new data. An analysis released by the research firm Rhodium Group Tuesday shows that emissions rose by 3.4 percent last year—the second-largest gain in more than twenty years.
The analysis also found that emissions from industrial manufacturing rose 5.7 percent, while transportation emissions rose 1 percent. The analysis describes these as industries "most often ignored in clean energy and climate policymaking" and significant drivers in the increase. "The big takeaway for me is that we haven't yet successfully decoupled U.S. emissions growth from economic growth," Rhodium analyst Trevor Houser told The New York Times.
As reported by The Washington Post:
"The latest growth makes it increasingly unlikely that the United States will achieve a pledge made by the Obama administration in the run-up to the Paris climate agreement, that the country would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
A large part of President Barack Obama's plan for meeting that goal turned on key climate policies, including new regulations for vehicle fuel efficiency and power plants. These policies alone were not enough—the United States has never been on target to fulfill its Paris promises. But the Trump administration has moved to reverse or weaken them."
"The U.S. has led the world in emissions reductions in the last decade thanks in large part to cheap gas displacing coal," Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, who was not involved in the analysis, told The New York Times. "But that has its limits, and markets alone will not deliver anywhere close to the pace of decarbonization needed without much stronger climate policy efforts that are unfortunately stalled if not reversed under the Trump administration."
For a deeper dive:
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.