Energy

Bureaucrats Annoyed US Emissions Levels Are Plummeting Despite Leaving Paris Deal

Diplomats are confused and irritated that the U.S. has made more ground reducing emission levels than Canada, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement.

“It’s a bit of a paradox, here,” Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), told reporters Wednesday. The U.S. is pummeling Canada on the issue, he added, even though the latter has made ratcheting down fuel emissions a top priority.

“In Canada, you have a situation where you have a very strong political will to reduce, but effectively it has not gone on the planned road,” Gurria noted. Canada’s emissions should have fallen 17 percent from 2005 levels, he added, but they dropped only 2 percent.

Trump decision to walk away from the non-binding Paris accord has not resulted in an increase in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions — in fact, emissions continue to fall appreciably. Some Canadian activists argue the country is doing the best it can to meet the deal’s obligations.

“Whether it’s forest fires in Canada, drought around the world or some of the most powerful hurricanes in history, the evidence of climate change is all around us,” Mark Johnson, a spokesman for Environment and Climate Change Canada, said in a statement. “This reminds us all of the need to act now.”

The U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have fallen roughly 12 percent since 2005, due in part to the increased natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing, according to a 2016 report from Energy Information Administration (EIA) report.

EIA’s report attributes falling CO2 emissions to “decreased use of coal and the increased use of natural gas for electricity generation.”

Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power and is already cheaper than coal in many locations due to fracking. The EIA estimates that roughly 68 percent of the falling CO2 emissions are due to the switch from coal to natural gas.

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