Updated: Oct 21, 2020
There have been reports coming out talking about how Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions have reduced since the beginning of Trump's presidency. Here is a quick rundown of the scientific reasons behind why our GHG's have been decreasing.
Changes in coal used as a primary energy source
It is well known that coal is a much dirtier energy source than natural gas, coal releases 228.6lbs of CO2/Btu while natural gas releases 117 lbsCO2/Btu. According to Kevin Kennedy, of the World Resources Institute, he claimed that any emissions reductions that occurred in 2019 "were not a result of US government policy but because coal is becoming “increasingly uneconomic” compared to gas and renewables." Natural gas and renewables have had "sharp declines" in prices in the last decade, and this is why it has been economically friendly to replace massive amounts of coal with these energy types.
Emissions during the Obama vs Trump Presidency
Trump claims that his rollbacks haven't hurt the environment because the overall CO2 emissions have decreased during his presidency. While this is true, CO2 emissions have decreased 0.5% during his presidency and renewables have only risen 11%. Wheres during Obama's presidency, CO2 emissions fell by 11% and renewables increased by 44%.
How Trump's climate rollbacks will affect our future
Even though Trump's rollbacks have not caused immediate trouble with the climate, it is going to negatively affect us in the long term. Between now and 2035, these rollbacks are going to pump "1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases" into the atmosphere. This is a 3% increase in climate pollution from current rates.
Here at Waste Free Earth we think it is important to be critical of the news headlines we read and we want to aid the public in understanding the reasoning behind some of the larger headlines that have come out recently.
By Kate Hoffman