by Thomas Catenacci
The U.S. has reduced emissions more than any other country in the world despite former President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords.
“In the last 10 years, the emissions reduction in the United States has been the largest in the history of energy,” International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Birol said at a Department of Energy press conference in 2019. “Almost 800 million tons. This is a huge decline of emissions.”
Since 2000, the year the U.S. emitted the most carbon dioxide, emissions have declined by more than 17%, according to the IEA. Emissions have declined 3.7% since 2015 when world leaders signed an agreement with various climate commitments during a high-level United Nations conference.
During both periods, U.S. energy output has increased 38% and 14% respectively, the IEA data showed.
“The United States has led the world,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Garret Graves remarked during a House Oversight Committee hearing Thursday. “We’ve reduced emissions more than the next 12 emissions-reducing countries combined.”
China which also signed the 2015 Paris agreement and continues to produce more emissions than any other country in the world, has seen its carbon dioxide output increase more than 8% since then, according to the IEA.
Immediately after taking office in 2017, Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris accords, arguing the agreement harmed American economic competitiveness and wouldn’t make a significant impact on the climate.
Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the agreement, and several top Democrats immediately slammed the decision, The Guardian reported. President Joe Biden called the move an “abdication of American leadership” and “shameful.”
“Mr. Trump’s policies — the latest of which was his decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change — have dismayed America’s allies, defied the wishes of much of the American business community he pretends to help, threatened America’s competitiveness as well as job growth in crucial industries and squandered what was left of America’s claim to leadership on an issue of global importance,” the NYT editorial board wrote.
On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order thrusting the U.S. back in the agreement.
But the UN said Tuesday that the world has largely failed to live up to the Paris agreement. Global climate policies since 2015 would reduce emissions just 7.5% by 2030, not by the Paris Climate Agreement goal of 55%, according to a report.
Over the next two weeks, the UN will convene its largest climate conference since Paris where leaders from both developing and wealthy nations are expected to issue more ambitious emissions goals. Biden will join several other heads of state at the meetings which are slated to begin Sunday.
‘Fracking made that possible’
“The US. reduction in emissions has nothing to do with trying to do something about greenhouse gas emissions or global warming,” Myron Ebell, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“It’s all due to the economics of natural gas from shale oil and gas revolution,” he added.
The so-called “shale revolution” was the rapid development of hydraulic fracturing technology, or fracking, between 2010-2011 in the U.S. which led to a massive increase in the amount of crude oil and natural gas produced, according to the Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Fracking led to hundreds of thousands of energy industry jobs in the U.S.
Since 2007, there has been a 1,876% increase in shale gas production, according to the EIA.
“We’ve cut emissions the most, that’s true,” Steve Milloy, a former member of the Trump transition team, told the DCNF. “Fracking made that possible.”
Milloy added that the Obama administration’s restrictions on coal mining led energy companies to quickly transition to natural gas as fracking became more viable.
Developing countries, meanwhile, have signaled that they will rely on natural gas as a “transition fuel” before moving to renewable energy.
“I believe that natural gas, despite being a cleaner fuel with significant potential, is yet to achieve its rightful place in global energy markets,” Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Puri said at a virtual event hosted by the International Energy Forum on Thursday.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Smokestacks” by Dori. CC BY-SA 3.0.