Greenhouse gas emissions in the US have fallen by the most since the Second World War, after the coronavirus pandemic decimated the country’s economy and brought travel to a near standstill.
According to a new report by US research firm Rhodium Group, greenhouse gas emissions in the US fell by 10.3% in 2020, amounting to the largest annual decline since World War II. Reduced travel, a shift in demand for goods and services, and historically-high unemployment levels as a result of the pandemic have all contributed to the record drop in emissions, helping the country significantly exceed its 2020 climate targets.
The report found that last year’s emissions reductions far outpace the air pollution decline of 6.3% recorded during the 2009 economic crash, bringing current figures 21% below 2005 levels. Although the record decline in emission levels puts the US in admirable standing with the Paris Climate Accord agreement — despite the Trump administration withdrawing last year — serious economic implications still exist.
According to the report’s researchers, “the emission reductions of 2020 have come with an enormous toll of significant economic damage and human suffering.” Indeed, the pandemic crisis left millions of Americans unemployed, forced numerous companies into bankruptcy, and unleashed a horde of government spending that will leave future generations indebted for years to come.
In the event that the pandemic and the subsequent recession would not have occurred, the researchers predicted that greenhouse gas emissions would have only fallen by a mere 3% in 2020. As a result, the report warns that the previous year will be a deviation from the trend, with emissions expected to increase once economic activity returns to pre-crisis levels.
Information for this briefing was found via the Rhodium Group. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.