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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. carbon emissions from energy rose by 2.7% last year, ending several years of declines, federal Energy Information Administration data confirms.

Why it matters: While emissions have been in a generally downward trend for well over a decade, the report late last week shows how the U.S. is off track to meet its pledges under the Paris climate deal.

Context: Under the Obama administration, the U.S. pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

  • U.S. emissions of CO2, the dominant greenhouse gas, last year were 12% below 2005 levels, per EIA's report.

The intrigue: President Trump is pulling the U.S. out of the agreement, but the data show how a future president who reverses course would be challenged to meet the existing commitment, let alone a tougher pledge.

What they found: EIA attributed the rise to a warmer summer and a colder winter than in 2017. And then there's transportation, which is the largest source of U.S. emissions and, unlike power, emissions from that sector have been on an upward march.

  • "Transportation-related CO2 emissions have been increasing steadily in the United States since 2012 because of a recovering economy and moderate fuel prices," they write.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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Biden introduces top national security team

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke Tuesday at an event introducing the incoming administration's top national security officials, where he told the story of his stepfather being the only one of 900 children at his school in Poland to survive the Holocaust.

What they're saying: "At the end of the war, he made a break from a death march into the woods in Bavaria. From his hiding place, he heard a deep rumbling sound. It was a tank. But instead of the iron cross, he saw painted on its side a five pointed white star," Blinken said.