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US GHG emissions declined by 11% in 2020

US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (including LULUCF) declined by 11% in 2020 to 5,222 MtCO2eq, i.e., 21% below 2005 levels, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. This was driven by an 11% decrease in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, primarily due to a 13% drop in transportation emissions driven by lower demand owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, power sector emissions also fell by 10%, reflecting both a slight decline in demand from the COVID-19 pandemic and a continued shift from coal to natural gas and renewables. In 2020, CO2 accounted for 79% of total emissions, followed by methane (11%), nitrous oxide (7%) and fluorinated gases (3%). Transport is the largest emitter sector (27%), followed by electricity (25%), industry (24%), commercial and residential (13%) and agriculture (11%).

The United States, which re-entered the Paris agreement on climate change in February 2021, aims to achieve a net-zero carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. In April 2021, the US administration pledged to reduce the country’s GHG emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. This target was also included in the country’s new NDC.