Pandemic and Lockdown Cause Biggest Drop in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions since WWII

The Rhodium Group recently reported that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 10.3% last year, the biggest drop in the post-WWII era.

The drop occurred as governments forced businesses to shut down and millions of Americans worked from home instead of commuting. The fall in emissions was nearly twice the drop of 6.3% during the Great Financial Crisis.

The decline puts U.S. emissions 21.5% lower than in 2005, which is better than the U.S. pledge under the Copenhagen accord to reduce emissions by 17%, but short of the 28% goal of the Paris agreement, which Biden is likely to rejoin after Trump withdrew.

But can emissions remain low as the economy reopens? That’s a good question.

The Rhodium Group said:

“With coronavirus vaccines now in distribution, we expect economic activity to pick up again in 2021, but without meaningful structural changes in the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy, emissions will likely rise again as well.”

We might see emissions rebound a bit, but crushing the economy to lower emissions seems like a bad idea.

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