Oct 18, 2018

The U.S. isn't on track to meet emissions targets

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The EPA is promoting newly released data showing a 2017 cut in aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from industrial operations, but there's a more nuanced story behind the top-line numbers.

Why it matters: Despite the cuts driven largely by power-sector changes, the U.S. is not on pace to meet Obama-era targets for cutting economy-wide emissions by 26%–28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

  • Achieving those emissions cuts, let alone the kind of reductions scientists say are needed to help avoid high amounts of warming, will require driving down emissions well beyond the electricity sector.

The big picture: EPA's updated Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data announced yesterday shows an overall 2.7% cut in GHGs, including a 4.5% cut in emissions from power plants, which are down almost 20% since 2011.

  • The program, begun almost a decade ago, tallies emissions reported by over 7,500 large facilities across a suite of industries, as well as oil-and-gas suppliers.

But, but, but: Emissions are not falling across the board. The data doesn't directly capture emissions from transportation, which is now the largest source of U.S. carbon emissions.

Plus, consider emissions from chemical manufacturing, another big source (although not on the scale of power or transportation).

  • Those overall emissions were 184 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent last year, which is up 7 million metric tons over 2016.

Other industries, as well, show changes.

  • Emissions from cement production, another big source, ticked up in 2017.
  • Direct emissions from refineries, meanwhile, dipped slightly but are higher than they were 5 years ago.

The bottom line: “It’s very much a mixed bag,” Kevin Kennedy of the World Resources Institute tells Axios.

  • “As you are looking at the industrial sectors generally, there are increases where there need to be decreases,” he said.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,697,459 — Total deaths: 100,271 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine — Nearly half of Americans say someone in their household has delayed medical care.
  4. Business: African American business owners have seen less relief from PPP, Goldman Sachs saysDisney plans phased reopening on July 11Author Ann Patchett says bookstores are innovating to stay connected with customers.
  5. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  6. 1 🎶 thing: Local music venues get rocked by coronavirus.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter ... vs. Trump.
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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.