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US carbon emissions on the rise again

"No one wants dirty air, dirty water and dirty soil," Geologist Jess Phoenix on the spike in carbon emissions and the threat to our environment.

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 7:53 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 8:24 AM

After three years of decline, climate-change-causing carbon emissions rose sharply in the United States last year, according to new research.

Carbon emissions increased 3.4% in 2018, marking the second-largest annual gain in more than two decades, according to preliminary power generation data analyzed by the Rhodium Group, an independent economic policy research provider.

This follows a Global Carbon Project report in December that said global carbon emissions were estimated to rise by 2.7% for all of 2018.

The new research indicated that US power sector emissions as a whole rose by 1.9% and that the transportation sector "held its title as the largest source of US emissions for the third year running," due to a growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offsetting a modest decline in gasoline use.

The construction and industry sectors also saw sizable emission increases.

"Most of the increase last year was directly attributable to an increase in economic growth," said Trevor Houser, who leads Rhodium Group's Energy and Climate team, but he added that "it does not have to be the case that a rising economy results in rising emissions."

Houser said affordable technology exists to grow the economy while reducing emissions, "but that requires policy to deploy those technologies in the market. And we've seen a freeze in that kind of policy at the federal level over the past few years."

The lack of strategy in the country's decarbonization efforts, the research says, has contributed to the gap in meeting the goal set in the Paris Agreement on climate change, a landmark 2015 accord that the US Trump administration has promised to abandon.

President Trump has at times denied the basic science of climate change, which states that burning coal, oil and natural gas produces emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet. But it has become increasingly clear that warming is happening faster than previously thought and with worse results.

In November, the administration released its fourth national climate assessment outlining the dire environmental and economic impacts of climate change, stating that thousands of Americans could die and gross domestic product could take a 10% hit by century's end.

Trump, who has called climate change a "hoax," has rejected the report's conclusion that climate change could be devastating for the economy, saying, "I don't believe it."

His administration has since made a series of policy and diplomatic decisions or statements that appear to run counter to all of the warnings in the report. None is designed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, as the report said is needed to combat extreme climate change.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed relaxing regulations for newly built coal-fueled power plants, which, combined with another proposal to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, would overhaul the way coal-fired plants are built and regulated.

The move sent a political signal that the Trump administration is intent on shoring up the coal industry and other energy interests, and environmentalists worry that the proposed rule suggests the EPA will set new standards that would weaken the requirements that the agency uses to regulate other types of pollution.

At the G20 meeting in Argentina, just days after the release of that dire climate report, US diplomats insisted on noting that the United States reaffirmed its intention to withdraw from the Paris accord.

When the US Geological Survey announced a major discovery of oil and natural gas underneath Texas and New Mexico in December, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called it a gift.

The Interior Department then proposed to cut protections that benefited the sage grouse, a grassland bird that lives in the Great Plains and Western states, which could allow for expanded oil and drilling. The plan would remove protections on nearly 9 million acres of protected habitat.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
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