Preliminary estimates showed that greenhouse gas emissions in the United States fell by 1.9 percent in 2023, which was the lowest since 1969. According to independent research firm the Rhodium Group, the reduction in emissions was mostly because of less coal power generation.
After two years of increased emissions, emissions in 2023 fell 17.2 percent lower than emissions recorded in 2005, EcoWatch reported.
“For now, a decline in emissions in 2023 is a step in the right direction,” the Rhodium Group said. “But the deadline for the U.S. 2030 climate target under the Paris Agreement of a 50-52 percent reduction in GHG emissions below 2005 levels is rapidly approaching, and achievement of that goal looks ever more challenging absent a major new policy push…”
The study concluded that an 8 percent reduction in emissions from the power sector and a 4 percent decline from commercial and residential buildings helped the reduction of emissions along with more power coming from nuclear instead of coal for the consecutive year.
“U.S. GHG emissions reached their peak after the 2009 recession in 2010, after which emissions declined on average 0.7 percnet annually from 2011 through 2019, before the pandemic and its associated economic impacts yielded a steep drop in GHG emissions,” the Rhodium Group said.
Natural gas and renewable energy also expanded to help the reduction in emissions.
“In the coming years, we’d expect to start seeing surges in renewable energy deployment and surges in the number of electric vehicles on the road,” Ben King, associate director of energy and climate practice at the Rhodium Group, said. “The big question is how fast emissions will fall as a result.”
In order to meet the Paris Agreement goals of 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade, the world needs to “see 6.9 percent decreases starting in 2024 through 2030,” King said.
The study hopes that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.
“We’ll be watching to see if the U.S. can sustain and accelerate its 2023 emissions decline in 2024 and beyond,” the Rhodium Group said.