Despite Coal Plant Closures, U.S. Carbon Emissions Were on the Rise in 2018

In 2018, America’s carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.8 percent – reaching its highest levels in eight years, according to the New York Times. Shockingly enough, this was also the year a near record number of coal plants closed throughout the U.S.

Located just south of The Great Salt Lake, Utah Photo: Courtesy of Patrick Hendry/Unsplash

There is plenty of speculation on how this happened, and according to the NY Times, they range from increased heating due to a moderately cold winter on the East Coast to the “Trump Administration’s push to roll back federal regulations that limit greenhouse gas emissions.”

The United States’ manufacturing industry boomed due to these roll backs – increasing the nation’s industrial sectors for steel, cement, chemicals and refineries by 5.7 percent.

According to the Times, the industrial sector was on a long list of industries that benefited financially.

This boosted the economy which collectively makes it harder for climate change policy makers at the federal and state level to heavily monitor and regulate the heavy industry, which according to NY Times, “Directly contributes about one-sixth of the country’s carbon emissions. Instead, they focus on decarbonizing the electricity sector through actions like promoting wind and solar power.”

The New York Times spoke with Trevor Houser, a climate energy specialist at the Rhodium Group (A credible economic analyzing team that aims to asses the commercial and political dynamics ‘facing incumbent economic leaders’) who said, “The big takeaway for me is that we haven’t yet successfully separated U.S. emissions growth from economic growth.”

The Rhodium Group estimates that the industrial sector is on track to become the second largest source of emissions in California by 2020.

h/t The New York Times

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