America’s Renewables Surpassed Coal in 2022 – But Greenhouse Gas Emissions Still Increased

Last year in America, “Renewable energy surpassed coal power nationwide for the first time in over six decades,” reports the New York Times. Wind, solar and hydropower generated 22% of America’s electricity, compared with 20% from coal.

But unfortunately, America’s greenhouse gas emissions still increased from the year before, “according to preliminary estimates published Tuesday by the Rhodium Group, a nonpartisan research firm.”

The New Yorker supplies some context:
This increase, according to the report, “was driven mainly by the demand for jet fuel,” as air travel rebounded from COVID levels, and it might have been even larger but for the war in Ukraine, which drove up fuel prices….

As part of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. pledged to reduce its emissions by half by 2030, using 2005 as a baseline. Emissions are now down only around fifteen per cent compared with 2005, which leaves a thirty-five-per-cent cut to be implemented in just eight years. Last summer’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which authorizes some four hundred billion dollars’ worth of spending on clean energy, was a “turning point,” the Rhodium Group said, and could produce emissions cuts “as early as this year if the government can fast-track implementation.” Still, the group admonished, the U.S. “needs to significantly increase its efforts.”

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