US emissions roared back last year after pandemic drop, figures show

(The Guardian, 10 Jan 2022) Planet-heating emissions rose by 6.2% compared with 2020. Rise largely down to increase in cars and trucks on the road.

Planet-heating emissions roared back in the United States in 2021, dashing hopes that the pandemic would prove a watershed moment in greening American society to address the climate crisis, new figures have shown.

Following the onset of the pandemic in 2020, millions of people switched to working from home, car and airplane travel plummeted and industrial output slowed. This led to a sharp drop in greenhouse gas emissions, spurring predictions that a newly shaped American economy would emerge to help banish the era of fossil fuels.

These forecasts may well have been baseless, however, with the new research showing that US emissions rose by 6.2% last year, compared to 2020. While emissions were still 5% down from 2019 levels, the jump in pollution as people returned to previous rhythms of life was greater than last year’s overall economic growth.

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The Guardian, 10 Jan 2022: US emissions roared back last year after pandemic drop, figures show