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US carbon emissions on the rise again

"No one wants dirty air, dirty water and dirty soil," Geologist Jess Phoenix on the spike in carbon emissions and the threat to our environment.

Posted: Jan 10, 2019 9:06 AM
Updated: Jan 10, 2019 9:24 AM

After three years of decline, climate-change-causing carbon emissions rose sharply in the United States last year, according to new research.

Carbon emissions increased 3.4% in 2018, marking the second-largest annual gain in more than two decades, according to preliminary power generation data analyzed by the Rhodium Group, an independent economic policy research provider.

This follows a Global Carbon Project report in December that said global carbon emissions were estimated to rise by 2.7% for all of 2018.

The new research indicated that US power sector emissions as a whole rose by 1.9% and that the transportation sector "held its title as the largest source of US emissions for the third year running," due to a growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offsetting a modest decline in gasoline use.

The construction and industry sectors also saw sizable emission increases.

"Most of the increase last year was directly attributable to an increase in economic growth," said Trevor Houser, who leads Rhodium Group's Energy and Climate team, but he added that "it does not have to be the case that a rising economy results in rising emissions."

Houser said affordable technology exists to grow the economy while reducing emissions, "but that requires policy to deploy those technologies in the market. And we've seen a freeze in that kind of policy at the federal level over the past few years."

The lack of strategy in the country's decarbonization efforts, the research says, has contributed to the gap in meeting the goal set in the Paris Agreement on climate change, a landmark 2015 accord that the US Trump administration has promised to abandon.

President Trump has at times denied the basic science of climate change, which states that burning coal, oil and natural gas produces emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere, warming the planet. But it has become increasingly clear that warming is happening faster than previously thought and with worse results.

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.

Trump, who has called climate change a "hoax," has rejected the report's conclusion that climate change could be devastating for the economy, saying, "I don't believe it."

His administration has since made a series of policy and diplomatic decisions or statements that appear to run counter to all of the warnings in the report. None is designed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, as the report said is needed to combat extreme climate change.

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed relaxing regulations for newly built coal-fueled power plants, which, combined with another proposal to replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, would overhaul the way coal-fired plants are built and regulated.

The move sent a political signal that the Trump administration is intent on shoring up the coal industry and other energy interests, and environmentalists worry that the proposed rule suggests the EPA will set new standards that would weaken the requirements that the agency uses to regulate other types of pollution.

At the G20 meeting in Argentina, just days after the release of that dire climate report, US diplomats insisted on noting that the United States reaffirmed its intention to withdraw from the Paris accord.

When the US Geological Survey announced a major discovery of oil and natural gas underneath Texas and New Mexico in December, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called it a gift.

The Interior Department then proposed to cut protections that benefited the sage grouse, a grassland bird that lives in the Great Plains and Western states, which could allow for expanded oil and drilling. The plan would remove protections on nearly 9 million acres of protected habitat.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 767409

Reported Deaths: 13980
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1054251805
Lake569191030
Allen42938698
St. Joseph37313568
Hamilton37298426
Elkhart29749470
Tippecanoe23479230
Vanderburgh23201405
Porter19573327
Johnson18822392
Hendricks18072321
Madison13548346
Clark13533198
Vigo12834256
LaPorte12566225
Monroe12546178
Delaware11143198
Howard10672237
Kosciusko9777124
Hancock8740150
Bartholomew8262157
Warrick8069157
Floyd8027182
Grant7366181
Wayne7233201
Boone7184105
Morgan6910143
Marshall6332116
Dubois6274118
Cass6090111
Dearborn601278
Noble599290
Henry5947111
Jackson516377
Shelby510898
Lawrence4922127
Gibson462696
Montgomery458192
Clinton455255
DeKalb455285
Harrison453577
Whitley415745
Huntington415582
Steuben410660
Miami405573
Jasper401155
Knox388391
Putnam385062
Wabash369083
Adams352956
Ripley351271
Jefferson341886
White339654
Daviess3090100
Wells303581
Greene293485
Decatur292593
Fayette286364
Posey281735
Scott280058
LaGrange277572
Clay273348
Washington254037
Randolph247783
Jennings239449
Spencer238731
Fountain235250
Starke229859
Owen222659
Sullivan221343
Fulton208345
Jay202932
Carroll197322
Orange191156
Perry189739
Vermillion180844
Rush177527
Tipton172747
Franklin171935
Parke155216
Pike141734
Blackford138032
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109715
Brown106043
Crawford105616
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8348
Union73610
Ohio58111
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1123964

Reported Deaths: 20490
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1304331493
Cuyahoga1172542263
Hamilton824421261
Montgomery535421062
Summit489021014
Lucas43747834
Butler40000614
Stark33837939
Lorain26029510
Warren24919312
Mahoning22710613
Lake21472396
Clermont20391261
Delaware19143138
Licking16863227
Trumbull16801492
Fairfield16793207
Medina15861276
Greene15528254
Clark14352308
Portage13432218
Wood13343201
Allen12049245
Richland11740213
Miami11019228
Wayne9258228
Columbiana9204236
Muskingum9133137
Pickaway8750123
Tuscarawas8718255
Marion8710140
Erie8135166
Ashtabula7281179
Hancock7048135
Ross7024165
Geauga6962153
Scioto6701108
Belmont6222179
Lawrence5947104
Union590949
Jefferson5725162
Huron5638122
Sandusky5488130
Darke5444131
Seneca5377128
Washington5371111
Athens526960
Auglaize507487
Mercer491185
Shelby482797
Knox4614113
Madison447566
Ashland444898
Defiance438799
Fulton436375
Putnam4354104
Crawford4114111
Brown409662
Preble3949107
Logan392179
Clinton390766
Ottawa375881
Highland366068
Williams356678
Champaign349660
Guernsey330554
Jackson321354
Perry298850
Morrow294743
Fayette289150
Hardin279365
Henry277167
Coshocton272961
Holmes2725102
Van Wert252265
Adams249858
Gallia249850
Pike244737
Wyandot235257
Hocking222963
Carroll201249
Paulding179942
Meigs151240
Monroe137945
Noble137739
Harrison115238
Morgan111624
Vinton87317
Unassigned04
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