Feb 22, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Power emissions interrupt long-term progress

Reproduced from EPA; Chart: Axios Visuals

New EPA data shows the long-term decline in emissions of key electricity sector pollutants, but also a recent uptick and the long road ahead to deeply decarbonizing the sector.

Driving the news: The figures show that last year sulfur dioxide emissions rose 20% compared to 2020, while nitrogen oxides rose 6% and CO2 climbed 7%.

  • Emissions of mercury, a dangerous neurotoxin not pictured in the chart above, increased 13%, EPA said.
  • The increases reflect the rebound in coal-fired generation amid higher energy demand and high natural gas prices last year, the agency said.

What we're watching: The trajectory of EPA plans to tighten emissions rules using executive powers as legislation to greatly bolster zero-carbon power incentives remains stalled in Congress.

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