COVID-19 disturbed the global economy and forced industries to shut down but the only positive factor which was noticed is the reduced greenhouse emission. According to a report released by the Rhodium Group, US recorded a fall of 10.3% in 2020 making it lowest since World War II.
Large industrial sectors like transportation, power and industry reported in a sharper emissions drop than the 2009 recession, when emissions slid 6.3%. The drop means that the United States would outperform its pledge made under the Copenhagen climate accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Emissions will actually drop by 21.5% compared with 2005.
United States can easily meet its more ambitious pledge under the Paris climate agreement to cut emissions 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 but the reports author claim it should not be considered under that light.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord, but President-elect Joe Biden has said he intends to rejoin as soon as he is inaugurated on Jan. 20. He plans to set the country on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 but will first need to announce a target for reducing emissions by 2030, as reported by Reuters.
The report by the research group said, “With COVID-19 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.”
The transportation sector saw the highest decline in emissions with a drop of 14.7% from 2019 levels, followed by Power plant emissions dropping 10.3% below 2019 levels.