The Rhodium Group released a report on Tuesday which showed US CO2 emissions rose in 2018 after falling for the previous three.  Cold weather and rising fuel demand were blamed for the increase.  

CO2 emissions in US rise despite shutdowns of coal-fired power plants

A report by independent research firm the Rhodium Group shows US CO2 emissions spiked in 2018 after three years of declines due to cold weather and a growing economy that boosted demand for fuels.

According to the report released on Tuesday, carbon emissions rose 3.4 per cent last year, the highest increase since 2010.  Rising CO2 emissions were noted even though a record number of coal-fired power plants were shuttered in the US.

Cleaner burning natural gas was used in place of coal generation, but the report said it served the majority of load growth for electricity in 2018, outpacing green renewables.

The Trump administration has relaxed Obama-era power plant and vehicle emissions regulations in an effort to increase the production of oil, gas and coal.  The current US government contends that emissions can vary from year to year, depending on the economy, but the country can reduce emissions and increase the economy simultaneously.

According to Reuters, the US Environmental Protection Agency did not respond to questions about the Rhodium report, instead only offered answers on the partial federal government shutdown or about environmental emergencies.

Greg Cunningham of the Conservation Law Foundation says the Trump administration must shift from natural gas to renewables and energy storage.

“Coal’s sharp-dressed cousin is continuing us on a path to irreparable and costly climate damage,” Cunningham told Reuters. “It is imperative that we shift our clean energy transition into high gear and accelerate our clean car standards to reverse this trend.”