Carbon dioxide emissions resulting from energy consumption in the U.S. grew by a record amount in 2021 compared to 2020 levels, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The nation’s carbon emissions went up by 7%, the highest percentage increase ever recorded, as the U.S. produced more than 4.9 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide in 2021, representing a 325 million metric ton increase from 2020, according to an EIA report released Wednesday. The growth in emissions was spurred by an increase in economic activity following the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns that heavily reduced energy demand.
The previous record increase was recorded in 2010 when emissions increased by 4% compared to 2009 levels, according to the report’s summary.
President Joe Biden has referred to greenhouse gas emissions as an “existential threat” to humanity on multiple occasions and previously pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by half compared to 2005 levels by no later than 2030. The Biden administration is working to achieve the president’s goals by blocking oil and gas leases on federal lands and investing heavily in green energy.
Energy-related CO2 emissions went up in 2021 due to national gross domestic product (GDP) growth as well as an increase in the deployment of more carbon-intensive sources of energy, such as coal, according to the report. The U.S. population increased from 2020 to 2021 which also caused an uptick in emissions that was not related to economic recovery from the pandemic.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, carbon emissions produced by energy consumption fell by 547 million metric tons or 11% in 2020 compared to 2019 levels. The bulk (56%) of the rise in energy consumption came from the transportation industry which was heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent economic recovery.
Total emissions in 2021 remained 243 million metric tons lower than they were in 2019 and 1.11 billion metric tons lower than 2007’s peak levels, the EIA found.
The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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