Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 7th of October 2017 to The Sounding Line.
Independent of the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the United States has made significant progress in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. As we first noted here, before the Paris Agreement was signed in April 2016 the US had already reduced per capita CO2 emissions by nearly 24% compared to their peak in 2000. If history is any guide, the US is likely to continue to surpass clean energy forecasts regardless of the Paris Agreement. The following chart from Statista.com shows how the US has exceeded the clean energy forecasts made by the United States Department of Energy in 2006, a decade before the signing of the Paris Agreement:
“Actual CO2 emissions in 2016 have undercut the 2006 predictions by 24 percent. In fact, energy consumption in total was also 17 percent lower than expected. In terms of the energy mix, power generated from coal was 45 percent beneath the forecast while clean(er) alternatives natural gas and wind/solar power saw overshoots of 79 and 383 percent, respectively.”
“Renewable energy infrastructure is also expanding at a much faster rate than was thought ten years ago. 2006’s prediction for installed solar was a massive 4,813 percent shy of the 2016 reality. The U.S now also has installed wind capacity of 82 gigawatts, 361 percent more than had been hoped for.”
You will find more statistics at Statista
As we noted in our earlier post:
“While it is true that US emissions still remain high, global carbon emissions are no longer rising because of the US or Europe (where emissions are falling), but because of those countries where emissions are rising. Such a statement may seem obvious, but it was apparently lost on the creators of the Paris Accord. China is the world’s largest and fastest growing emitter of CO2 and now emits more CO2 per capita than the EU. The Paris Accord did not put any meaningful restrictions on the growth of emissions from China until 2030, incentivizing them to grow their emissions as much as possible between now and then. The same is true for many of the countries that have the fastest growing emissions.”
“As the following chart shows, developing economies are now responsible for the majority of carbon emissions and all emissions growth. That is not to say that the developed world does not have an obligation to reduce its emissions. It does. The point is that the US will almost certainly continue to reduce its emissions regardless of its participation in the Paris Accord.”