If U.S. Emissions Rose In 2018 Despite Clean Energy Growth, How Can We Meet Climate Goals?

New research finds the United States’ energy mix is rapidly decarbonizing largely due to economics, as coal-fired generation keeps retiring in favor of cheaper clean energy additions, but U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions still rose 2.5% in 2018.

Although that may seem counterintuitive, economic growth and extreme weather increased energy demand, despite power sector decarbonization. To help avoid dire consequences of global warming, the U.S. will need to decouple energy productivity and economic growth to accelerate emissions reductions .

Positive steps are underway, from increasing clean energy deployment to critical technology investments, and these need to be continually strengthened. In the past few years, emissions reductions have largely come from state-level action rather than federal policy. But as momentum builds behind sweeping federal climate legislation, policymakers should consider a suite of energy policies that address all economic sectors by combining performance standards, economic signals, and research and development (R&D). More >>