US sees spike in carbon emissions in 2018: Report

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The United States saw a large spike in carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, an independent economic research firm said Tuesday.</p>  <p>CO2 emissions in the U.S. rose by 3.4 percent following three years of decline -- the largest increase in the past eight years and the second largest in the past two decades, Rhodium Group said in a report.</p>  <p>The report only offered estimates for energy consumption, but a report published by the Global Carbon Project offered data showing a similar rise in U.S. carbon emissions.</p>  <p>Last year’s increase occurred even though coal consumption in the U.S. was down and a record number of coal-fired power plants were retired, according to Rhodium Group’s report. In coal's place, natural gas filled in and made up the majority of energy consumption, resulting in a 1.9 percent increase in emissions in the power sector.</p>  <p>The Rhodium Group predicted that if the country's trajectory remains the same, it will not meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.</p>  <p>The report said in order for the U.S. to reach those commitments, which equate to a 26-28 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, the country will need to &quot;reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 2.6 percent on average over the next seven years — and faster if declines in other gasses do not keep pace&quot;.</p>  <p>However, this may not matter for the U.S. since President Donald Trump announced he would be pulling out of the agreement in 2020. </p>  <p>Trump set off a new policy on the environment by ending a number of federal environmental protections.</p>  <p>The report noted that researchers do not expect a similarly large increase in carbon emissions for 2019 but emphasized emission reduction challenges facing the U.S.