Greenhouse gas generated by the U.S. economy slid to 9.2 percent, tumbling to the lowest level in at least three decades, according to a new report released Thursday by BloombergNEF and conducted for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE).
The coronavirus pandemic slammed the brakes on the nation’s economy, with significant reductions in transportation, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
America’s emissions prior to the pandemic had been steadily declining because utilities that generate electricity have been shifting away from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.
The decrease puts the U.S. on track to achieve the 2025 Paris climate goal.
“Achieving Paris under more normal circumstances is really quite challenging,” Ethan Zindler, Head of Americas for BloombergNEF, told reporters during a Wednesday briefing. “Emissions from the power sector emissions are not really moving. … Power does continue to decarbonize, and I think that will continue to happen. The transportation sector will not necessarily get there without policies and regulations, so without that sharp drop caused by the pandemic, emissions will rise this year.”
Total U.S. energy use declined 7.8 percent year over year in 2020, while transportation demand fell 14.4 percent and electricity dipped just 3.8 percent, according to the report.
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