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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.

  • Coal saw record declines around the world last year.
  • The fuel's dramatic decline in the U.S. has been fueled by several factors: cheaper natural gas and renewable electricity, tougher environmental regulations in the Obama administration and the global shift to cleaner sources of energy in the face of climate change.

Yes, but: The Rhodium Group writes that there is little else to celebrate because other economic sectors made "far less progress." Transportation emissions stagnated, while emissions from buildings and industry rose.

The big picture: The U.S. ended 2019 at roughly 12% below its 2005 net greenhouse gas emissions levels.

  • The country is at risk of missing its target of a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2020, as required by the Copenhagen Accord.
  • The U.S. is also well off from meeting the reduction standard of the 2015 Paris agreement, which it no longer recognizes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.