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Data: EIA; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Market forces have been in the driver's seat during President Trump’s first term, which means oil-and-gas kept growing (until the pandemic), he couldn’t revive coal, and the country stayed far away from policies that would drive steep future carbon cuts.

Where it stands: The administration launched a big deregulatory push to scuttle Obama-era climate policies and support coal, oil and gas. Here are a few snapshots of what happened over the last four years.

  • Carbon emissions haven't moved greatly in either direction, as the chart above shows. (Of note: It doesn’t show this year, which would display a steep decline due to the pandemic's effect on travel and economic activity.)
  • Oil production kept soaring to new records until the pandemic crushed demand and prices, reaching about 13 million barrels per day by the end of 2019.
  • Petroleum exports, especially crude, soared too. But, to underscore the way markets and policy both play a role, the crude export boom was enabled by a late 2015 law that lifted extremely heavy restrictions, which set the stage to ship surging U.S. supplies abroad.
  • Natural gas production, already at record levels when Trump arrived, generally climbed even faster until COVID-19.

But, but, but: Natural gas and renewables have kept squeezing coal out of power markets, despite Trump's pro-coal push, and don't look for that to change.

Between the lines: This serves to show how market conditions hold a lot of sway. That's also true of the oil-and-gas production boom, which began over a decade ago.

  • Coal production last year fell to its lowest levels since the 1970s, and is falling again this year.
  • The fuel's share of the power mix has kept dropping under Trump, and is now less than a fourth of U.S. generation.
  • Wind has continued its upward march under Trump, despite his anti-wind sentiment, while solar has grown even more sharply, albeit from a smaller baseline.

What they're saying: The Rhodium Group's Trevor Houser notes market developments in clean energy, like the decline of solar and wind costs, meant those sectors were "mature enough" that their trajectory continued despite Trump's pro-coal efforts.

  • The research firm's modeling shows that Trump's policies around vehicles, power, and oil-and-gas sites means future emissions will be higher than if former President Obama's policies had continued.

Yes, but: That's less important than what didn't happen under Trump, Houser says in an email."While those regulatory rollbacks had a measurable impact on U.S. emissions ... the real climate impact of the Trump Administration was the lost four years of additional federal policy action."

What we're watching: I mean, come on.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Dec 1, 2020 - Energy & Environment

BlackRock unveils new way to assess climate investment risk

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Investors will be able to see what impact a warming world and the transition to cleaner energy sources could have on their portfolios in a tool BlackRock unveiled Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move by BlackRock, the world's biggest money manager, is one of the most concrete signs investors are getting more serious about acting on risks they’ve been saying for years they’re worried about.

6 mins ago - World

Israeli parliament opts for early elections in preliminary vote

Netanyahu (C) arrives in parliament today. Photo: Alex Kolomiensky/Pool/AFP via Getty

After six months of a dysfunctional power-sharing government, Israel is headed for its fourth elections in less than two years, most likely at the end of March.

Driving the news: The Knesset voted 61-54 today to approve the preliminary reading of a bill to dissolve the parliament and call new elections. Benny Gantz's Blue and White party supported the bill while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the rest of the coalition voted against.

1 hour ago - Sports

The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Packed stadiums and a more normal fan experience could return by late 2021, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said yesterday.

Why it matters: If Fauci's prediction comes true, it could save countless programs from going extinct next year.