Energy & Environment

Carbon emissions will fall just 4 percent by 2050, according to government projections

U.S. carbon emissions are expected to fall just 4 percent by 2050, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), falling far short of the changes scientists say are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. 

Projections from the administration, released in its annual energy outlook, find carbon emissions are likely to decrease through the 2020s before picking up again in the 2030s.

The trend line leaves U.S. carbon emissions almost exactly where they are right now.

“Total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions resume modest growth in the 2030s, driven largely by increases in energy demand in the transportation and industrial sectors; however, by 2050, they remain 4 percent lower than 2019 levels,” the report says.

Many environmental groups have rallied around reports from the United Nations, as well as the U.S.’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, calling for the country to take dramatic action to reduce carbon emissions before 2030.

Though a number of states have set goals to have their electric sector be carbon neutral by 2050 or sooner, the report suggests those efforts could be derailed by growing transportation emissions, which are currently the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) 

Earlier Wednesday, Democrats rolled out an infrastructure plan that proposed to reduce transportation emissions by expanding public transit and train travel and boosting infrastructure for electric vehicles.

The report also follows the unveiling of a plan by Democrats to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, including in the transportation sector, but some environmental groups have argued it is not strong enough.

“This projection of relentless climate pollution is nothing short of terrifying,” the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. “With Trump officials crippling emissions rules, climate-friendly lawmakers must build support for truly bold policies that avert the bleak future predicted by the EIA. We need much stronger measures.”

Tags Carbon neutrality Climate change Global warming Greenhouse gas emissions Renewable energy

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