US carbon emissions spiked in 2018, research group estimates

Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States shot up last year by the largest amount in eight years, according to an estimate released Tuesday.

Research firm Rhodium Group said carbon output likely grew 3.4 percent, the second-largest annual increase in two decades, behind only 2010, a year of major economic growth.

The Tuesday report, if confirmed in more thorough research expected later this year by government and international bodies, shows a stark reversal from recent years, in which trends like natural gas replacing coal have led to year-after-year carbon reductions.


It also shows that the United States is even farther off-track in meeting the goals the Obama administration set for the Paris agreement — a pact that President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Milley warns of 'Sputnik moment' for China WSJ publishes letter from Trump continuing to allege voter fraud in PA Oath Keeper who was at Capitol on Jan. 6 runs for New Jersey State Assembly MORE has said he plans to leave.

Rhodium said power sector emissions fell in 2018 but blamed the emissions increase on transportation, buildings and industry.

“The transportation sector held its title as the largest source of US emissions for the third year running, as robust growth in demand for diesel and jet fuel offset a modest decline in gasoline consumption,” the group said in its report.

“The buildings and industrial sectors also both posted big year-on-year emissions gains,” it said. “Some of this was due to unusually cold weather at the start of the year. But it also highlights the limited progress made in developing decarbonization strategies for these sectors.”

The report aligns generally with a December estimate by the Energy Information Administration, which forecast a 3 percent increase in carbon emissions for the year.