In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, leading to a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
In the United States, emissions that cause global warming dropped by over 10% compared to 2019 levels. However, the situation changed in 2021, with emissions increasing once again.
According to recent data, greenhouse gas emissions in the US rose to 5007.34 gigatons in 2021, up from 4715.69 gigatons in 2020. This increase can be attributed to the return of economic activity, which has led to higher levels of transportation and industrial production.
While the Biden administration cannot be held entirely responsible for the rebound in emissions, some experts argue that they have not done enough to tackle the climate crisis. Lisa McCormick, a climate activist, stated that the administration must accept some of the blame for failing to bring the crisis under control.
The Biden administration’s approval of a massive oil project in Alaska, embrace of natural gas exports and slowness to announce its plans on offshore drilling fall far short of the president’s 2020 campaign promises of bold action to wean the nation off fossil fuels.
These actions are reminiscent of the early years of President Barack Obama’s administration, when he embraced the economic benefits of fracking instead of protecting the planet, completely blindsided environmentalists by backing away from plans to tighten Bush era policies and made the wrong decisions on the Keystone XL pipeline.
“President Joe Biden has pledged to be a global leader in tackling the climate crisis. He cannot do that by allowing more fossil fuel investments, like approving more oil and gas leases than Trump,” said McCormick. “The Bureau of Land Management approved an average of about 336 drilling permits per month in 2021,
The Biden administration has approved more oil and gas drilling permits on public lands per month than the Trump administration did during the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.
The Biden administration has made a number of pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and setting ambitious targets for clean energy development. However, some critics argue that these steps are not enough to address the scale of the problem.
“With the oil and gas companies raking in record high profits, it makes no sense for taxpayers to keep subsidizing the industry by charging artificially low market royalty rates for drilling on public lands and waters,” said McCormick. “Taxpayers for Common Sense estimated that the U.S. government has lost up to $12.4 billion in revenue in the past decade due to below-market royalty rates, so it is tiem for political leaders to stand up to these greedy corporations.”
“At the Glasgow climate summit, President Biden called on world leaders to make dramatic progress on climate change,” said McCormick. “President Biden is a world leader who should follow his own advice: ‘We only have a brief window left before us to raise our ambitions and to raise — to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing.'”
McCormick said the recent increase in emissions shows we are not making sufficient progress taking action to reduce carbon footprints, and develop new technologies to help transition to a more sustainable future.
“Urgent action is needed to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming, but the Biden administration has yet to rise to the challenge with more than rhetoric,” said McCormick.