US Emissions: Which Way?
U.S. decarbonization is likely to stall under Trump, even as the planet’s carbon capacity limit approaches.
- The US emitted 16.1 tons of CO2 per person in 2015. More than three times the global average.
- Among developed economies, only seventh-ranked Australia had higher per capita emissions than the United States.
- Since 1990, U.S. emissions fell by 19%. Trump Administration is seeking to eliminate many of the regulations that triggered these improvements.
1. In April 2017, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were measured at 410 parts per million.
2. That carbon threshold was passed likely for the first time in 3 million years.
3. Across a population of nearly 325 million, the United States emitted 16.1 tons of CO2 per person in 2015. That is more than three times the global average of 4.9 tons.
4. Even at that elevated level, the United States only had the 12th highest CO2 emissions in 2015 on a per capita basis.
5. However, among large developed economies, only seventh-ranked Australia had higher per capita emissions than the United States.
6. Since 1990, U.S. per capita emissions have fallen by 19% — partly a result of actions such as decommissioning the country’s oldest, most carbon-intensive power plants, increasing auto fuel efficiency standards (and driving less).
7. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has moved to withdraw from the Paris Agreement internationally and is seeking to eliminate many of the domestic regulations that triggered these improvements.
8. Still, some measures, such as many closures of coal power plants in favor of somewhat cleaner-burning natural gas plants, will not be reversed due to private-sector efficiency pressures.
9. As of 2015, the United States was responsible for 5.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
10. That was the second-highest level of any country — and 14% of the record 36.2 billion tons emitted worldwide that year.
Sources: The Globalist Research Center, the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research