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Reproduced from Rhodium Group; Chart: Axios Visuals

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an estimated — and unprecedented — 10.3% drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions last year, per a preliminary analysis from the Rhodium Group.

Why it matters: It's by far the single largest annual drop in the post-World War II era and puts U.S. emissions 21.5% below 2005 levels.

The analysis also shows how COVID-19 affected not only aggregate national emissions but also specific sectors.

Yes, but: The decline is rooted in the "enormous toll of significant economic damage and human suffering" and isn't a substitute for emissions policy at all, Rhodium says.

  • Last year "should not in any way be considered a down payment" on the U.S. goal under the Paris Agreement of cutting emissions 26%-28% percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
  • The incoming Biden administration will rejoin the agreement and submit a longer-term target for deeper cuts.

What's next: "With coronavirus 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," it states.

Go deeper: COVID-19 Took a Bite From U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2020 (New York Times)

Go deeper

14 hours ago - Health

CDC director: “I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have"

CDC director Rochelle Walensky, newly appointed by President Biden, told Fox News on Sunday that the administration does not know the current number of COVID vaccines available for distribution — due to a lack of data gathered by the agency under Trump — making it more difficult for states to accurately plan.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states including Texas, South Carolina, New York, and California have canceled thousands of appointments due to running low on vaccines or nearly depleting their share, the New York Times reports.

19 hours ago - Health

Cities launch efforts to vaccinate the homeless

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities around the world are ramping up efforts to vaccinate homeless people as part of an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, following pressure from local activists.

Why it matters: Many homeless people have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the disease, and often lack access to health care. People without homes are "chronically neglected around the world and acutely vulnerable to the coronavirus," writes the Washington Post.