US greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2018, EPA says

Source: By Rachel Frazin, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2020

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased by about 3 percent in 2018, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The increase follows declines in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. For example, emissions fell by about half a percent in 2017and by nearly 3 percent in 2016.

The last time greenhouse gas emissions increased was 2014.

Despite the increase, emissions are still down about 10 percent from a recent high in 2007.

The EPA attributed the 2018 increase to greater carbon dioxide emissions linked to fossil fuel combustion. It said that there was more combustion for reasons including increased heating and cooling during a colder winter and hotter summer than in 2017.

Despite the increase, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler expressed optimism about a downward trend in future U.S. emissions data.

“This report highlights declining emissions trends since 2005, showing that the U.S. is reducing GHG emissions while still being able to grow a robust economy,” he said in a statement, referring to greenhouse gas emissions.

“While there was a small rise in emissions due to weather and increased energy demand from the prior year in this report, based on preliminary data, we expect next year’s report to show that the long-term downward trend will continue,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, David Doniger, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s senior strategic director for climate and clean energy, blamed the increase on the Trump administration, saying it happened “as a result of the Trump administration’s policies and signals.”

“They’re trying to reverse all the limits on carbon pollution that the previous administration began to put in place,” he said “They’re working in the wrong direction.”

Monday’s report also showed that the transportation sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, amounting to 28 percent of them. It was closely followed by electricity, which made up 27 percent.

In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions from the residential, commercial, industry, transportation, electric power and agriculture sectors all increased.