By: Devika Kandelwal
October 8 2020
While it is true that US Co2 emissions have declined by more than 10 percent in the past decade, more than a dozen other countries have seen declines of more than twice that.
While it is true that US Co2 emissions have declined by more than 10 percent in the past decade, more than a dozen other countries have seen declines of more than twice that.The Paris Agreement is an environmental accord adopted by 195 countries in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. The deal aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. In June 2017, US President Donald Trump announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. During the Vice Presidential debate, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the US has reduced CO2 more than countries still in the Paris Climate Accord under President Trump. However, this is not true. Climate Action Tracker (CAT) ranked U.S. Paris targets as “insufficient” and categorized the country’s efforts as “critically insufficient,” their lowest ranking, which they received under Trump. The current administration has attempted to roll back the Clean Power Plan; sought to relax vehicle efficiency standards to such an extent that even vehicle manufacturers have objected; and announced plans to weaken regulations to limit HFC emissions and regulation of methane leaks from oil and gas production. Moreover, out of the 20 countries that emitted the most Co2 in 2018, the US stood at number 2, after China. While it is true that the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions have declined by more than 10 percent in the past decade, more than a dozen other countries — including most of the European Union — have seen declines of more than twice that. Data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that US energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2017 fell to 5.14 billion metric tons, 0.9% lower than their 2016 levels. Coal emissions were the primary driver behind the decline. The EIA report, published in Sept. 2018, also stated that US energy-related CO2 emissions have declined in 7 of the past ten years. The emission levels of 2017 were 14% lower than in 2005. This indicates that the Trump administration had little to do with the fall in carbon dioxide emissions. It had already been on a decline well before Trump assumed office.