Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work

(The Guardian, 8 Jan 2019) Last year’s 3.4% jump in emissions is the largest since 2010 recession and second largest gain in more than two decades.

A new analysis shows US greenhouse gas levels are increasing as the Trump administration unravels efforts to slow climate change.

Carbon emissions rose sharply last year, increasing 3.4%, according to new estimates from the economic firm Rhodium Group. That year’s jump in emissions is the biggest since the bounce back from the recession in 2010. It is the second largest gain in more than two decades.

Coal plants are shutting down, but electricity demand is growing. Natural-gas fired power emits about half as much carbon as coal but still contributes to climate change. The fossil fuel is replacing most of the coal plants that are closing and also fed most of the higher demand, increasing power-sector climate pollution. Outside of the power sector, transportation, industry and buildings all increased their emissions as well, according to the estimates.

The numbers undercut one of the Trump administration’s key defenses for dismissing federal science reports that show rising temperatures will wreak havoc on the economy, kill people and cause more extreme weather. Trump has said he doesn’t believe the findings and his officials have argued they are exaggerated.

The Environmental Protection Agency chief, Andrew Wheeler, often trumpets declines in greenhouse gases, citing data showing that they fell 2.7% from 2016 to 2017.

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The Guardian, 8 Jan 2019: Carbon emissions up as Trump agenda rolls back climate change work