May 11, 2017

How global carbon emissions changed over time

The issue

With all this talk about whether Trump will pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, the most aggressive agreement among nearly 200 nations to curb carbon emissions, let's put the U.S. contributions to carbon emissions in context.

The Facts

Turns out that as a portion of total global carbon emissions, the U.S. is not currently contributing the most of any country — China is. Even though the U.S. isn't the top contributor, global emissions have been steadily rising over time, although note the recent plateau.

Data: Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios
Why it matters

Even though the U.S. emits much less than China, it is still an influential force in holding other countries that emit much less, and much more, accountable. That influence is part of what's at stake as the U.S. decides whether to stay in the agreement. If Trump stays in the accord, it doesn't necessarily mean the emissions from the U.S. won't spike, as Axios' Amy Harder points out.

Go deeper

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by estimated 2.1% in 2019

Power lines in California in 2019. Photo: Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.1% in 2019 due to a decrease in national coal consumption, according to estimates from the Rhodium Group released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Power generated from coal plants fell by a record 18%, and overall emissions from the power section declined by almost 10% — despite an increase in emissions from natural gas.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

European ambassador hits U.S. on climate change

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The European Union’s ambassador to the U.S., Stavros Lambrinidis, is criticizing America’s outsized impact on climate change, increasing tension between two allies that are already oceans apart on this problem.

Why it matters: The comments, made to reporters Thursday afternoon in Washington, come a week after the bloc said it may impose financial penalties on imports from nations that are less aggressive on climate change as part of its broader European Green Deal plan to curb emissions.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

IEA forecasts rising global coal consumption until 2024

After briefly declining as the Paris Climate Agreement was finalized in 2015, global coal consumption is now poised to keep growing — albeit only slightly, according to a new International Energy Agency forecast.

Go deeperArrowDec 17, 2019