Happy hours are a lot like this: Greenhouse gases rose a lot last year, just like they did in real life.
CO2 emissions rose 6.2% when Covid restrictions were eased in 2021, says a report from the Rhodium Group. The I Am Legend days of 2020 saw emissions fall by 10%, the largest annual drop on record. This is a big change from then.
Analysts thought that emissions would start to go down again in 2021, but the data shows that the US isn’t meeting its climate goals.
There has been a revival in the use of coal
There was a big rise in greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 because coal, the lead singer of the fossil fuel band, played a big part in it. The amount of coal used to make electricity went up 17% for the first year in a while.
This doesn’t mean that people now love the sedimentary rock. It’s just the way the market works. Prices for natural gas rose by almost double in 2021, so utilities turned up their coal plants instead to save money.
Coal, which now makes up only 19 percent of the electricity used in the United States, is expected to keep dropping in the years to come.
Rhodium Group says that even though emissions have risen, they are still far below what they were in 2019. This is partly because of the ongoing pandemic disruptions. It’s not going to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which require a 5% reduction in emissions every year through 2030. The US is still not on track. The president’s Build Back Better Act planned to spend $555 billion on a variety of climate programmes, but it ran into a wall in Congress because Sen. Joe Manchin was against it.
There was another scorcher in 2021. There’s a new report from the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service that says that last year was the fifth hottest year on record. And the last seven years have been the hottest seven years that tracking has been able to show us.