Greenhouse gas emissions have declined across multiple sectors since President Donald Trump has been in office, the Environmental Protection Agency announced.
The latest figures show total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dipped by 2.7 percent during 2017 compared with 2016, President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, the agency said as part of its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.
The EPA collects emissions data from industrial sources on an annual basis. Those sources include power plants, oil and gas production plants, refining facilities, iron mills, steel mills, and landfills.
“Thanks to President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, the economy is booming, energy production is surging, and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources,” Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, said in a press release Wednesday, adding:
These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government. The Trump administration has proven that federal regulations are not necessary to drive CO2 reductions. While many around the world are talking about reducing greenhouse gases, the U.S. continues to deliver, and today’s report is further evidence of our action-oriented approach.
Environmental activists link greenhouses gases to what they consider man-made climate change, or global warming.
Other key findings identified by the EPA show that greenhouse gas emissions from large power plants declined 4.5 percent since 2016 and 19.7 percent since 2011.
More than 8,000 facilities submitted data to the agency’s program for the 2017 reporting year.
Greenhouse gases that the EPA says trap heat in the atmosphere include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. But it is the carbon dioxide emissions that stand out.
“The 2.6 billion metric tons of CO2 [carbon dioxide] reported for 2017 represent 90.7 percent of the [greenhouse gases] reported in 2017,” the EPA said. “Methane emissions represent 7.7 percent of reported … emissions, N2O [nitrous oxide] represents 0.9 percent, and fluorinated gases (HFCs, PFCs, SF6) represent 0.6 percent.”
The Trump administration anticipates that carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector will continue to decline if the government implements its proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule.
The Trump rule would replace the Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan” with guidelines that give states more flexibility to determine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
“Much of the world ridiculed the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris Accord [on addressing climate change] and rolling back the previous administration’s climate regulations,” Nick Loris, an energy policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, said in an email, adding:
But they’re not singing our praises as market-driven innovations lead the world in reducing emissions, while they fail to meet their nonbinding commitments under Paris. It’s clear that talking the talk and walking the walk are two very different things.
Wheeler has described the Obama administration plan as a “top-down, one-size-fits-all” approach to energy policy.
In February 2016, the Supreme Court ordered a halt in enforcement of the Clean Power Plan until a lower federal court ruled on its legality.
That order—which came in response to legal challenges from 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops, and three labor unions—marked the first time the high court had stopped a regulation before a lower appeals court issued a final judgment.
The EPA projects that the Trump proposal would lead to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions of 35 percent below 2005 levels.