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November 14, 2017

U.S. Carbon Is Down, While World Carbon Is Up

 

The 2017 UN Climate Change Conference meeting in Bonn, Germany, will be wrapping up in a few days, and it appears the only thing to come out of it is more criticism and consternation for President Donald Trump and the U.S. for pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The media even made a big deal recently of the fact that Syria, the only other country that hadn’t signed on, had decided to join—as if the U.S. could be morally shamed by anything Syria does. 

But here’s the great irony: While all of the participating countries will be backslapping themselves for their concern over and efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the U.S. is actually doing it. 

As the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in April: “U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totaled 5,170 million metric tons (MMmt), 1.7% below their 2015 levels, after dropping 2.7% between 2014 and 2015. These recent decreases are consistent with a decade-long trend, with energy-related CO2 emissions 14% below the 2005 level in 2016.” 

And just yesterday the EIA reported“Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with coal consumption in the United States fell by a record 231 million metric tons in 2015.” 

Thus, U.S. carbon emissions have been on a more than decade-long decline, and emissions from coal have dropped by record levels.  

So how are all of the countries that have committed to reducing carbon emissions doing? 

Um, not so well. Climate scientists speaking to the 200 countries attending the Bonn conference explained that “world carbon emissions are set to rise 2 percent this year to a new record, …  dashing hopes that global emissions had already peaked,” according to Reuters. “Carbon emissions had been roughly flat from 2014-16, but will increase this year mainly due to a rise in China after a two-year decline, the scientists said.” 

Of course, the carbon increase would be even higher were it not for the decline in U.S. carbon emissions, essentially offsetting some of China’s increases. 

But don’t expect to hear people at the conference thanking the U.S. and scolding China, because actually reducing carbon isn’t nearly as important to them as being part of a group that says it wants to reduce carbon.  


 

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