In the past couple of years, the US has been playing catch up when it comes to environmental protection and climate change policy. So far, things have been going okay – it recently passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate and tax law designed to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. This policy could lead to decarbonization at industrial plants and reduce emissions from certain industries, like cement and steel production.
But, at the same time, the US isn’t making much progress with its highest-emitting areas, transportation and industry. In 2022, industrial emissions rose by 1.5 %, and transportation emissions rose by 1.3%. On Tuesday, the research group Rhodium published carbon emissions estimates, and they say that US greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2022 by 1.3% from 2021.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the global carbon level increase from 2020 to 2021 was larger than the average annual growth rate over the last decade. Data from the WMO shows that these levels continued to rise worldwide in 2022.
But how is that even possible when renewable energy is only becoming more accessible?
CNBC reports that the rising availability of renewable energy still can’t match the rise in global energy demand. That gap just isn’t getting any narrower. And, as travel picks back up again all over the world post-pandemic, that gap could get even bigger.
In McKinsey’s Global Energy Perspective 2022, the group said, “Even if all countries deliver on their current net-zero commitments, global emissions remain far away from a 1.5ºC pathway.” If emissions keep on the same path, it looks like we’ll be seeing a temperature rise of 2.4ºC.
Daniel Yergin, author and vice chairman of S&P Global, explains the challenge of this energy transition: “The objective of this transition is not just to bring on new energy sources, but to entirely change the energy foundations of what today is a $100 trillion global economy—and do so in little more than a quarter century. It is a very big ambition, and nothing on this scale has ever been attempted up to now.”