A new report has found that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose by 3.4% in 2018 after three years of decline.
"To meet the Paris Agreement target of a 26-28% reduction from 2005 levels by 2025, the U.S. will need to reduce energy-related Carbon dioxide emissions by 2.6% on average over the next seven years - and faster if declines in other gasses do not keep pace", the report notes.
After three years of being on the decline, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by an estimated 3.4 percent last year, according to a report published on Tuesday by Rhodium Group based on emissions data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The worldwide pledge aims to limit the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6°F) - or 1.5°C (2.7°F) if possible.
Transportation remains the nation's number one source of Carbon dioxide emissions for the third year in a row. To put this data into perspective, this increase represents the second-largest annual gain in two decades.
"The US was already off track in meeting its Paris Agreement targets".
The report noted that though the factors behind the rise in United States emissions in 2018 are mostly economic, some are natural.
Cold spells in winter in a number of regions led to a rise in energy while a hot summer led to more air conditioning use. "We also need to protect and strengthen existing climate safeguards - like the Clean Power Plan to limit power plant emissions and Clean Car standards - which the Trump Administration has been relentlessly trying to roll back".
The spike occurred even though 2018 saw a record amount of shutdowns of power plants fired by coal, the fuel richest in carbon output when burned. Emissions from electrical power generation, for example, were up 1.9%, despite coming largely from natural gas rather than coal as a near-record number of coal plants closed past year.
The trend might come as a surprise to some, considering coal plants continue to shut down despite President Donald Trump's attempts to bring them back.
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Those increases drove the 3.4% rise in overall pollution, the second-biggest year-over-year increase in the past 20 years.
But the EPA is rescinding Obama-era climate work, including regulations meant to speed a shift from coal.
'It is imperative that we shift our clean energy transition into high gear and accelerate our clean auto standards to reverse this trend'.
Some environmentalists, politicians in both parties, and petroleum companies say this would harness the power of capitalism to reduce emissions.
The data shows the USA is unlikely to meet its pledge to reduce emissions by 2025 under the Paris climate agreement.
In November, the administration released its fourth national climate assessment outlining the dire environmental and economic impacts of climate change, stating that thousands of Americans could die and gross domestic product could take a 10% hit by century's end.
It hopes to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C (3.6ºF) 'and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F)'.
In June 2017, President Trump announced his intention for the United States, the second largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, to withdraw from the agreement.
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