US greenhouse gas emissions increased by six percent in 2021

Polycount

Posts: 3,005   +589
Staff member
In brief: Given the growing popularity of electric vehicles in the US, one might think the country would be on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions substantially. However, it seems that the opposite may have occurred in 2021: according to new estimates, US GHG emissions increased by 6 percent last year. It's a small but not insignificant uptick that suggests the world is starting to get back to normal, at least where fuel demand is concerned.

It's worth noting that this figure is relative to 2020's numbers, which were lower than usual due to a massive decrease in fuel demand. Fewer flights were taking off (indeed, many airlines were forced to ground their fleets), and many would-be drivers were staying at home; either quarantining or working from home via Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Compared to the pre-Covid days of 2019, 2021's emissions were still lower across the board. During 2019, the US saw well over 1800 metric tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere from transportation alone. In 2020, that figure dropped all the way down to sub-1600 levels, but in 2021, it bounced back to a little over 1700 metric tons -- still notably lower than 2019's figures, of course.

Other sectors saw less drastic changes. Industry and Building emissions increased only slightly over 2020's numbers and just about reached parity with 2019's last year.

The group behind these estimates, Rhodium Group, notes that 2021's emissions put the US "further off track" when it comes to meeting its Paris Agreement environmental targets. Of course, expecting the country to continue a downward emissions trajectory after a year like 2020 is not entirely reasonable, given how much of an outlier it is.

Nonetheless, as Rhodium points out, the Paris Agreement's targets require the US to reduce emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. As of 2020, the US reached the 22 percent mark, but in 2021, progress has tapered back to 17.4 percent.

It remains to be seen whether emissions will increase even more this year. It wouldn't be a surprise if lockdown fatigue finally gave way to a massive boom in travel and vacations, but only time will tell.

Masthead credit: American Public Power Association

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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,319   +5,509
"The group behind these estimates, Rhodium Group, notes that 2021's emissions put the US "further off track" when it comes to meeting its Paris Agreement environmental targets."

Meh, those targets are utter nonsense anyway. I could write paragraphs about how unrealistic the target goals are, how china and other ocuntries are allowed practical free will under said agreement, how we'd have to torpedo our economey to meet these requirements, and how modern throw away culture poses arguably a greater threat then emissions while also contributing to said emissions, and how government should be trying to fix that if they really care about the enviroment.

But it's like screaming into the wind at this point.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,277   +7,210
Here in NYC:

People who saved up money taking public transportation went out and bought a car. Just about all the cars on our roads are new. I've seen/felt traffic increase more than 30% since the pandemic lockdown ended. Gas prices went from record lows to record highs. (Fortunately, I bought into oil/gas dividend paying stock when oil went negative in 2020).

Other people who'd been living in apartments here in NYC decided to go out and buy a house in the suburbs - which means that they were most likely living further from where they work and needed a new car to get back and forth.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,277   +7,210
"Nonetheless, as Rhodium points out, the Paris Agreement's targets require the US to reduce emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. As of 2020, the US reached the 22 percent mark, but in 2021, progress has tapered back to 17.4 percent."

Globalism is having your sovereign rights decided by this fake "international community".

It's a tax on all of us.

Many people can't afford, don't want or can't support an Electric vehicle.

My non-elected soon-to-be-not-re-elected governor Kathy Hochul wants to risk our lives forcing new buildings to forgo gas connections and be electric only. Elsewhere in the news, a malfunctioning electric space heater cost 17 people - including 8 children - their lives in the Bronx this week.

It is -8°C here on Wall Street, NYC as I'm typing this. Oil/gas ain't going nowhere.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 683   +1,081
Meh, those targets are utter nonsense anyway. I could write paragraphs about how unrealistic the target goals are, how china and other ocuntries are allowed practical free will under said agreement, how we'd have to torpedo our economey to meet these requirements, and how modern throw away culture poses arguably a greater threat then emissions while also contributing to said emissions, and how government should be trying to fix that if they really care about the enviroment.

But it's like screaming into the wind at this point.
I’m with you there. Also the Paris Agreement doesn’t require any country to do anything, despite what the article says. No new action will happen if/when targets aren’t met besides more news articles like these.
Many people can't afford, don't want or can't support an Electric vehicle.

My non-elected soon-to-be-not-re-elected governor Kathy Hochul wants to risk our lives forcing new buildings to forgo gas connections and be electric only. Elsewhere in the news, a malfunctioning electric space heater cost 17 people - including 8 children - their lives in the Bronx this week.

It is -8°C here on Wall Street, NYC as I'm typing this. Oil/gas ain't going nowhere.
The legislation pushing electrification is pretty stupid because the market will likely swing to more renewables on its own because of driving market forces. Prices as determined by supply/demand is what’ll truly allow the transition to electrification, and it’ll be in spite of government action and not because of it. Government money will cause businesses to become inefficient and mandates will do that and also send prices up for those products.

Still I think electrification of transportation to be inevitable, but not on the timeline nor gradual transition as described. And it’s exactly because of what you point out: EVs are only affordable enough for a fraction of the population right now. As supply increases and businesses become more competitive, prices will eventually get to a point where most people can actually afford an EV, and then many more people will consider buying an EV. That’s when you’ll start seeing the current vehicles on roads slowly transitioning to EVs year by year. So I wouldn’t expect any meaningful transition to begin until 2025-2030 and it’ll take 20 years before we get to any kind of real “emissions target” of 50% or less of the current emissions.
 
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bviktor

Posts: 789   +1,202
"The group behind these estimates, Rhodium Group, notes that 2021's emissions put the US "further off track" when it comes to meeting its Paris Agreement environmental targets."

Meh, those targets are utter nonsense anyway. I could write paragraphs about how unrealistic the target goals are, how china and other ocuntries are allowed practical free will under said agreement, how we'd have to torpedo our economey to meet these requirements, and how modern throw away culture poses arguably a greater threat then emissions while also contributing to said emissions, and how government should be trying to fix that if they really care about the enviroment.

But it's like screaming into the wind at this point.
So it's unrealistic that humanity survives the next century? There's no dilemma here. We either do this, or die, simple as that.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,545   +7,386
It's those damned cow farts. We have to do something about those cow farts.

Maybe Musk could "invent" a cow fart collector.. It's obvious the big automakers are going to outsell Tesla's electric vehicles, so he doesn't have to save the world single handedly in that regard anymore.

Hey look, this isn't as far fetched as it sounds. Musk has been pronising methane fueled rocket engines for a while.

It even could have a tag line, "on to mars on a cloud of farts".

Or maybe, "Hi, ho, Bossie, away".
1200px-Cow_%28Fleckvieh_breed%29_Oeschinensee_Slaunger_2009-07-07.jpg
 

eforce

Posts: 899   +1,275
It's good to see at least one country pushing back against the regressive deindustrialization drive by the left.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,080   +5,617
Climate scientists know that China and India produce more Co2 than the US, yet their organizations keep putting out the lie that the US is the biggest source. Why? Because their being paid to do so by huge venture capitol firms and companies that want to move all industrial activity to the slave labor nations. As long as there's a single factory still paying decent wages somewhere they'll continue pushing the lie. China has yet to implement a single part of any climate accord they've signed, but just as with their accidental release of COVID-19 they'll never be held accountable because their armies of serfs make western executives rich.
 

Underdog

Posts: 255   +153
Facts of Life:
It's always handy to have a scapegoat to blame when things go wrong.
The rich will always find a way to increase their already obscene profits when things go wrong.
People will expect governments to do the right thing and work toward fixing the problems.

This expectation often fails miserably.


 

McKocoa

Posts: 57   +67
There are many important fluxes in the global carbon cycle. And they feed into one another.
Dead and decaying wood alone releases around 10.9 gigatons of carbon worldwide every year. This is roughly equivalent to 115 percent of all annual fossil fuel emissions. (source: DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-03740-8).
All carbon emissions from soil microbes are estimated at roughly 10 times higher than all fossil fuel burning on an annual basis. (doi 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01672.x).
The issue is that a warming climate releases more CO2 from soil, it's a feedback loop. Warming increases microbial activity and decomposition.
 

Underdog

Posts: 255   +153
There are many important fluxes in the global carbon cycle. And they feed into one another.
Dead and decaying wood alone releases around 10.9 gigatons of carbon worldwide every year. This is roughly equivalent to 115 percent of all annual fossil fuel emissions. (source: DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-03740-8).
All carbon emissions from soil microbes are estimated at roughly 10 times higher than all fossil fuel burning on an annual basis. (doi 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01672.x).
The issue is that a warming climate releases more CO2 from soil, it's a feedback loop. Warming increases microbial activity and decomposition.
Very interesting. We have been told that deforestation is bad. That we should be planting more trees because they consume CO2 = net reduction. If your stats are factual it looks like we're doomed no matter what we do. Recently we are being told to stop eating meat because animal farts are contributing to global warming. I suspect humans will be next on the eco hit list. Just enough culled to reduce the effect so the mega rich can eat what they like.