The coronavirus pandemic has caused the largest drop in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the US since World War II.
That’s one of the findings of a new report from independent research provider Rhodium Group, which estimates US GHGs fell 10.3% in 2020, as a result of the ‘historic shock’ to the country’s economy.
The analysis shows Covid-19 hit high-emitting sectors hard, including transportation and energy, and resulted in a sharper emissions drop than the recession in 2009 when emissions dipped 6.3%.
The figures suggest there was a 14.7% decline in transportation sector emissions while power sector emissions dropped 10.3%.
The authors of the report acknowledge last year’s emissions drop puts US emissions below 1990 levels for the first time.
With emissions down 21% below 2005 levels, the US is expected to exceed its 2020 Copenhagen Accord target of a 17% reduction below 2005 levels, according to the report.
The accord was signed at the 2009 UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
However, the analysts warn that this emissions reduction does not mean that the US could meet its 2025 Paris Agreement target of up to 28% below 2005 levels.
The US President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Paris accord, but President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reenter the climate pact.