Why US Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Energy Rose Sharply in 2018

Corporate renewables procurement had a record year and coal-fired power plant retirements picked up in 2018, but a new report from the Rhodium Group found that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the US actually rose sharply.

During the three years prior to 2018, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion were on the decline, according to the Rhodium Group’s Preliminary US Emissions Estimates for 2018.

“Based on emissions data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the first three quarters of the year, weekly EIA petroleum supply data, plus daily power generation and natural gas data from Genscape and Bloomberg, respectively, we estimate that energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 3.4% in 2018,” the energy and climate staff concluded.

The Rhodium Group researchers said that this was the second largest annual gain since 1996. Only the 3.6% increase in 2010, when emissions rebounded from a recession-driven 7.2% decline the year before, was higher.

If coal-fired power is on the decline and renewables are on the rise, what’s going on?


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Shelly Jo Jacobs

Author: Shelly Jo Jacobs