Trump administration announces increases in US climate emissions, while cheering their decline

Coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minnesota (Flickr/Tony Webster)

Coal-fired power plant in Becker, Minnesota (Flickr/Tony Webster)

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its annual estimate of US greenhouse gas emissions, showing that emissions increased by 3% in 2018, the first full year of the Trump administration. This was the first annual increase after multiple years of steady or declining emissions. Yet, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler responded by applauding the overall decline in US emissions since 2005.

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graph of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by gas, 1990-2018

Woodwell Climate Research Center President Dr. Phil Duffy said in response:

“The decline in US emissions since 2005 occurred despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to promote fossil fuels and to reverse policies addressing climate change. Since Trump took office, US emissions are up at a time when science shows we need to be dramatically cutting emissions every year.

“Let’s be clear about the facts: the decline in US emissions since 2005 is due to (1) dramatic reductions in the use of coal, which this administration has tried to reverse every step of the way; (2) the recession of 2008; and (3) policies of the Obama administration, which this administration has worked tirelessly to repeal.

“It is beyond hypocritical to brag about reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while doing everything possible to increase them.”