Daily on Energy: US beating emissions forecasts while China lags
Philip Rossetti, resident senior fellow in energy at R Street, a free-market think tank, analyzed a series of the Energy Information Administration’s annual International Energy Outlooks, determining that No. 2 emitter the U.S. has made demonstrable progress on emissions in recent years, even while top global emitter China, No. 3 India, and No. 4 Russia have been emitting above projections.
The analysis notes that the United States emitted 1.22 gigatons of carbon dioxide less in 2020 than was projected, which occurred in the context of the societal disruptions caused by COVID-19.
Still, in 2019, the U.S. emitted 0.6 gigatons less than was projected for that year, with the EIA ascribing reductions to increased use of natural gas for electricity generation and industrial processes and an expansion of renewables.
By contrast, and even in the midst of the pandemic, China’s carbon dioxide emissions last year were 0.78 gigatons above projections. Relative to 2019’s projections, it emitted 1.1 gigatons more than expected.
At the same time, India’s CO2 emissions reached 0.08 gigatons over 2020 projected levels, and Russia’s were 0.25 above projections for last year.
“There’s no escaping the math, and the math is that China is now the world’s largest emitter,” Rossetti told Jeremy. “They have basically double the U.S.’ emissions. India and Russia are also major emitters, and they have not been making any progress whatsoever.”
Rossetti noted that despite progress on emissions among the U.S. and European nations, the latter of which collectively emitted under projections in 2019 and 2020, is being “offset” by higher-than-anticipated emissions from the likes of China, India, Russia.
“We’re not going to be able to just expect our own emissions abatement to be the driving force of global change, because developing nations are easily able to outpace any progress that we have in terms of their emissions,” Rossetti said.