Renewable Energy

Exciting stuff: For the US, power from renewable sources surpassed that of coal in 2022 - 22% vs 20%. There ought to be equally exciting news on CO2 emissions front, right? By how much did the CO2 emissions of USA change in 2022 (from 2021)?


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Correct Answer
Increased by about 1%

And here's something for you to take back

US CO2 emissions for 2022 were 1.3% higher than those for 2021, even though contribution from renewables increased significantly.

Hullo! Why is this happening?

There could be many reasons. One could be that 2021 was still a partially COVID year, which could have dampened demand for transport and allied logistics thus resulting in lower emissions for that year.  2022 was mostly COVID free and transport emissions are likely to have rebounded

In fact the news report says so too. While emissions from power generation did decrease last year as natural gas and renewables replaced coal, industrial emissions rose by 1.5 percent (presumably through more emissions from heating and logistics?) and "transportation emissions rose by 1.3 percent, the latter driven mainly by demand for jet fuel as air travel continued to recover from pandemic-era declines". I could have predicted the stuff about air travel. Humans are a wandering species - box them for a few months, and when you let them free, they will run and fly around like there's no tomorrow.

All said, if the US stats are any indicator for emissions in the rest of world, we are far from the desired trends for emissions reduction. Bill de la Gates said pretty much the same a couple of days back when he mentioned that the world will almost certainly overshoot the 1.5 degrees C delta over pre-industrial levels.

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