US greenhouse gas emissions increased 6.2% in 2021: NPR


Trucks cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge over a container ship in the Port of Los Angeles on November 30, 2021 in San Pedro, California.

Mario Tama / Getty Images


hide caption

toggle legend

Mario Tama / Getty Images


Trucks cross the Vincent Thomas Bridge over a container ship in the Port of Los Angeles on November 30, 2021 in San Pedro, California.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States rose 6.2% last year from 2020, according to new data released on Monday.

The spike has been attributed to a host of causes, including changes in behavior after COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, research firm Rhodium Group reported. But it also means that government climate change goals may now be threatened, an alarming result according to conservationists.

“It is clear that the climate crisis is upon us. It has devastating consequences,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, told NPR. “When you hear the shows going up, it’s extremely worrying.”

People who stayed at home and used less fossil fuels in the pandemic’s first year reverted to some of their old ways in 2021, the Rhodium Group found, with large-scale vaccine distribution opening the door. path to economic recovery.

Transportation, especially for freight transportation to meet strong demand for consumer products, saw the biggest increase in global warming emissions in 2021, although it fell in the second half of the year to as cases of groundbreaking COVID-19 increased and new variants spread.

The 17% increase in coal production, due to high natural gas prices, also contributed to the increase. Despite being the first annual increase in coal production since 2014, coal emissions were still 4% lower than they were in 2019.

The peak derails emissions targets

The increase in emissions suggests that the country is not on track to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement to reduce 2005 emissions levels by 50 to 52% by now 2023.

“We have to see annual emissions reductions of around 5% every year, and this year we have seen emissions increase by more than 6%,” Kate Larsen, partner of the Rhodium Group, told NPR.

Still, the firm found that U.S. emissions in 2021 remained 5% lower than 2019 levels.

President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation has reportedly allocated billions of dollars to clean energy as the administration strives to dramatically cut emissions, but the bill’s rejection by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on last month probably doomed him.

A warming planet is making extreme weather events more frequent and intense, and federal officials say 2021 was no different.

A report also released Monday by the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found 2021 to be one of the deadliest and costliest years on record for extreme weather and climate disasters, with 688 deaths in 20 separate disasters. causing damage totaling over $ 145 billion.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning edition live blog.

Leave a Comment