U.S. greenhouse gas emissions set to drop to lowest level in three decades

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Greenhouse gases generated by the U.S. economy will slide 9.2 percent this year, tumbling to the lowest level in at least three decades, a new BloombergNEF study says.

Battered by the coronavirus pandemic, the stalled economy is projected to have generated 5.9 billion metric tons of emissions, about the same level as 1983, according to the private research organization.

As a result, the United States has been inadvertently pushed back on track to meet the commitments the Obama administration made at the Paris climate agreement in December 2015, despite the fact the Trump administration pulled the country out of the pact. Before 2020, the United States had fallen badly behind its targets under the accord.

Still, net emissions are expected to be 6.4 percent lower after taking into account the unusually extreme forest fires that swept the West Coast and Rocky Mountains earlier this year, pumping carbon dioxide and other pollution into the air and offsetting much of the drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

An economic rebound in 2021 could further negate the drop in greenhouse gas emissions, the BloombergNEF study says. Without the impact of the coronavirus, greenhouse gas emissions this year would have been only 1 percent lower than 2019, the organization says.

Associated report: New Energy Outlook 2020 (BloombergNEF)

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