After over a decade of small but steady declines in CO2 emissions, powered by freight and coal, we are back to our pre-pandemic levels. Sure, we all like to see economic growth, especially after two tragic years, with an economy kept afloat by government stimulus - but not to the detriment of the environment.
US greenhouse gas emissions grew 6.2 percent in 2021 as its economy largely recovered from pandemic lockdowns, as estimated by a report by independent research firm, the Rhodium Group. Compare that with emissions falling nearly 1 percent every year between 2005 and 2019, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Why? There's a few reasons, the main one being, a 17 percent jump in coal-fired power generation, the first annual inrease since 2014. Demand for coal rose party from a surge in natural gas prices (stemming from domestic and geopolitical reasons), making coal relatively more attractive. Second was a rapid rise in road transportation as people gradually got out of their homes to travel and demand for goods rose.
Climeworks - World’s First Commercial CO2 Capture Plant
What we can do immediately is invest in carbon capture and renewable energy. In the meantime, check out these charts which will explain the above visually HERE.