Stunning climate data released Tuesday indicates that the international emission of environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere began to plateau last year after two years of substantial increases.
“Despite widespread expectations global energy-related CO2 emissions would post another annual increase in 2019, new @IEA data shows they were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes even as the world economy expanded by 2.9 [percent],” International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol tweeted.
When the IEA’s annual Global CO2 Emissions report for 2019 was published, it was not any one of the nearly 200 signatories of the United Nations’ progressive Paris climate accords that spearheaded this cessation of emissions.
Instead, it was the United States.
BIG NEWS. Despite widespread expectations global energy-related CO2 emissions would post another annual increase in 2019, new @IEA data shows they were unchanged at 33 gigatonnes even as the world economy expanded by 2.9% ➡️ https://t.co/MUidUOIIqv pic.twitter.com/B5QZ5S1DEP
— Fatih Birol (@IEABirol) February 11, 2020
“The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis,” the IEA said.
According to the organization, energy-related carbon emissions in the U.S. fell by 140 million tonnes in 2019 to 4.8 gigatonnes — a decrease of 2.9 percent over the previous year.
Down nearly one gigatonne from its peak in the year 2000 — a decrease of roughly 17 percent — the 20-year low represents “the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.”
Keeping with international trends, the cuts to U.S. emissions were largely powered by the energy sector’s transition to cleaner fossil fuels like natural gas — a transition widely backed by the Trump administration.
“A 15% reduction in the use of coal for power generation underpinned the decline in overall US emissions in 2019,” the IEA reported.
“Coal-fired power plants faced even stronger competition from natural gas-fired generation, with benchmark gas prices an average of 45% lower than 2018 levels. As a result,” the organization added, “gas increased its share in electricity generation to a record high of 37%.”
International Energy Agency: “The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis…US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country” https://t.co/LpfXYfGCf2
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) February 12, 2020
The United States led the world last year in global CO2 emissions
US emissions decreased by 2.9%—140 MILLION tons
That’s more than any country still in the Paris Climate Accord
I thought Democrats said when Trump pulled out of that it would be the end of the world?
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) February 13, 2020
Now these are, admittedly, not earth-shattering numbers.
According to estimates made earlier this year by independent American research organization the Rhodium Group, the U.S. is not on pace to meet its Copenhagen Accord target of a 17 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020.
And the nation is still nowhere near on track to hit the 2015 Paris Agreement’s unreasonable target of 26 to 28 percent reduction from 2005 numbers by 2025.
But considering this emissions reduction leadership was attained while the international climate sensationalists in Europe sat on their hands, failing to meet any of the requirements of recently signed climate accords, it certainly isn’t something one should bat an eye at.
Better yet, these emissions reductions were all attained while the nation strove toward stronger energy independence and lower unemployment rates than it has seen in decades.
Sure, it’s no Green New Deal.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans weren’t put out of work, the entire U.S. economy wasn’t dramatically restructured and we didn’t have to rebuild every major structure nationwide (all good things if you ask a reasonable person), but it certainly is a start.
Especially with the rest of the world seemingly stalled at the starting line.
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