Greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly from the previous year in 2022 by 1.3%, keeping the U.S. just 15.5% below 2005 levels and off track to meet its global pledge to slash emissions 50-52% by 2030, according to estimates published on Tuesday by research group Rhodium.
The group’s preliminary estimates showed a lower emissions increase for 2022 than 2021, when emissions rebounded 6.5% after plunging 10.6% during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
The report said that unlike 2021, the economic growth rate outpaced the emissions rebound, which means that the carbon intensity of the economy declined.
This was driven by a drop in emissions in the power sector as gas and renewable energy displaced coal, the report said. But building emissions rose by 6% in 2022 due to increased heating demand amid lower-than-average winter temperatures.
Rhodium said that the U.S. may start to see emission reductions in 2023 if the government fast-tracks implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has unleashed over $300 million in climate-related spending and tax incentives for electric cars and renewable energy.
A report it released last year projected that emissions would fall 31% to 44% from 2005 levels by 2030 under the Inflation Reduction Act.
“However, even with the IRA, more aggressive policies are needed to fully close the gap to 50-52% by 2030,” the analysis said, adding that federal agencies need to propose aggressive regulations that drive down emissions.