- The Hill notes that coal-fired power generation dropped by 18% in 2019 – if Colorado could embrace this path through 2025, that would eliminate 12% of our GHG pollution, getting us nearly halfway to the 26% by 2025 goal.
- We also need to be vigilant about not digging the hole deeper with fossil fuel investments. A report covered by the Hill showed that oil and gas companies could release about 30% more greenhouse gases by 2025 than they did in 2018.
US emissions dropped by an estimated 2% last year due to the continuing decline of coal-fired power plants across the country, according to Bloomberg, reporting on analysis produced by independent researchers from the Rhodium Group, a private data research firm. According to Bloomberg, the news “underscores the limitations” of US president Donald Trump’s pro-fossil fuel policies, which have seen environmental regulations rolled back and attempts to keep coal plants open. According to Axios, the fuel’s decline has been driven by the advent of cheaper natural gas and renewable electricity. The Hill notes that coal-fired power generation dropped by 18% to its lowest level since 1975, but adds that emissions from other sectors like buildings and industry also increased. According to the Atlantic, the switch from coal to gas “has not been wholly good for American emissions,” as some critics argue that leaky infrastructure is “as bad for the climate as the coal system that it is replacing” because of climate-warming methane entering the atmosphere. With the US accounting for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the Washington Post concludes that the “modest overall drop in emissions left the US in danger of failing to meet its commitments under international agreements”. It quotes Trevor Houser, head of Rhodium Group’s energy and climate team, who says “emissions are not falling fast enough to meet Copenhagen or Paris agreement targets without a significant change in public policy.” Reuters says Trump administration policies such as the freeze on Obama-era standards for vehicle efficiency “put future cuts in doubt”. InsideClimate News has a piece looking at why emissions dropped in 2019 “in six charts”.
Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post reports on a new study by the Chinese government-backed Energy Research Institute which suggests phasing out coal and meeting its climate goals by 2050 is “totally doable” for China, by rapidly phasing out “low-hanging fruit” power plants and gradually reducing the operating hours of others. In its own switch away from coal by 2025, Israel is planning on building two natural gas power units, according to Reuters.
Reuters also reports the chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute has warned that Americans risk choosing the “wrong path” in the upcoming presidential election if they vote for a candidate that wants to ban drilling to tackle climate change. A report by the Environmental Integrity Project covered by the Hill showed that oil and gas companies could release about 30% more greenhouse gases by 2025 than they did in 2018.