Climate: the United States reduced its emissions in 2023, but not fast enough to meet the Paris agreement target

The year 2023, marked by a procession of unprecedented climatic disasters, is indeed the hottest in history, flirting for the first time in its entire duration with the limit of 1

Climate: the United States reduced its emissions in 2023, but not fast enough to meet the Paris agreement target

The year 2023, marked by a procession of unprecedented climatic disasters, is indeed the hottest in history, flirting for the first time in its entire duration with the limit of 1.5°C of global warming, set by the Paris agreement.

According to a report published Wednesday, January 10, by the Rhodium Group research center, greenhouse gas emissions in the United States fell by 1.9% in 2023, a decline that must triple for the world's largest economy can meet its climate objectives of the Paris agreement.

The United States, the world's second largest emitter, has committed to halving its emissions by 2030 compared to 2005. So far, the decline since 2005 is 17.2%, according to this estimate. The decrease in emissions in 2023, compared to 2022, is notably due to the drop in electricity production with coal. If the United States still produces 17% of its electricity with this energy source among the most emitting, this figure has reached a historic low, according to the Rhodium Group.

Rising emissions amid economic recovery

Coal-fired electricity production is gradually being replaced by gas-fired power plants and renewable energies, but the first solution, also emitting, is progressing twice as fast as the second. This decline at the national level in 2023 occurred at the same time as economic growth (2.4%), underlines the research group: an increase in emissions had been observed over the last two years in a context of post-war economic recovery. -pandemic.

“A reduction in emissions across the entire economy is a step in the right direction,” notes the report, “but the speed of this reduction must more than triple, and remain at this level, from 2024 and until 2030 to meet U.S. climate goals under the Paris Agreement.” The 2030 deadline “is rapidly approaching, and achieving these goals is an increasingly difficult challenge to meet without a major new political decision,” emphasizes the Rhodium Group.

According to the research group, it is still too early to assess President Joe Biden's major investment plans in the energy transition. And if electricity production is declining, the transport sector, leading in terms of greenhouse gases, still emits more (1.6%), with in particular an increase in air traffic and gasoline consumption which climb.

The United States is currently the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in absolute terms, behind China. But taking into account historical emissions, that is to say cumulative since 1850, the United States remains at the top of the ranking.