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A factory in Newark, New Jersey. Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency released an annual report Wednesday that concludes 2016 greenhouse gas emissions are 2% lower than the previous year and 11% lower than 2005.

What they're saying: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Twitter that the report's findings aren't a result of the Obama administration’s "top-down" regulations, like a rule that cuts carbon emissions from power plants or the "misguided" 2015 Paris climate deal. Instead, Pruitt said “American ingenuity and tech breakthroughs have made US the world leader in energy dominance while reducing emissions.”

The facts

One overarching point: This data is all drawn from the time of the Obama administration, not when Trump was in office.

More specifically, emissions are largely down because natural gas is displacing coal electricity, which the EPA notes. Power-plant carbon emissions are down by 25% compared to 2005 levels. But the agency doesn’t mention a couple of other important points:

1) Gas displacing coal contradicts President Trump’s broader goal of reviving coal.

2)Increasing wind and solar electricity is also helping cut emissions.

As for taking a shot at Obama’s carbon rule and the Paris climate deal, that’s beside the point. Power companies are increasingly moving toward natural gas and renewables because the economics make sense, less so because of the carbon rule (which Pruitt is working to repeal). And the global thrust of the Paris climate deal still exists, and it’s helping solidify an already economically compelling case to shift away from coal in the U.S.

Why it matters

This EPA report is the latest in a series of instances that shows how the Trump administration contradicts itself when it comes to energy and climate change: Pruitt boasts that America is reducing its carbon emissions, but he doesn’t acknowledge carbon is an issue.

More fundamentally, this report shows that despite the regulatory rollbacks and accompanying rhetoric, Trump’s EPA is keeping intact certain climate protocol that’s been in place since the 1990’s.

Correction: The first sentence has been changed to specify all greenhouse gas emissions, not just from power plants.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.